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Christmas:  Was Jesus Christ born December 25?

Gary Googe Dec 15

I’m afraid this is just another of many examples of how “tradition” so often misrepresents things given in the Bible.  As anyone who is familiar with weather conditions in Israel will tell you, there are no shepherds with their sheep in the fields in December because it is extremely cold at that time of year.  As it has always been, winter begins in October and by December they are well into cold weather conditions.  While much can be said about how December 25th mistakenly became the date most professed Christians accept as the birthday of Christ, I will not address that in this article because the most important question about this is to do with what the Scriptures tell us that would help us get the correct answer to our question?

Luke 2:8-20

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day [a time of the year when shepherds are in the field] in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

If you’re not familiar with “swaddling clothes,” go to my article entitled Christmas:  What are “swaddling” clothes?

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. [Emphasis added]

We even have a Christmas carol by Robert Jackson called While shepherds watched their flocks by night that speaks of this glorious event.

While shepherds watched their flocks by night
All seated on the ground
The angel of the Lord came down
And glory shone around

“Fear not,” said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind
“Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind”

“To you, in David’s town this day
Is born of David’s line
The Savior who is Christ the Lord
And this shall be the sign”

“The heavenly Babe you there shall find
To human view displayed
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands
And in a manger laid”

Thus spake the seraph, and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God, who thus
Addressed their joyful song

“All glory be to God on high
And on the earth be peace
Goodwill henceforth from heaven to men
Begin and never cease”

Due to a decree for a census given by the Roman emperor, Joseph and his pregnant wife, Mary, had to travel around ninety miles from their home in Nazareth to the little town of Bethlehem.  It was to be there that she would give birth to Jesus.

Luke 2:1-7

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. [Emphasis added]

So, at what time of the year was the Christ child born? To answer that question, we must first realize that the birth of Christ was prophesied.  For instance, Abraham was told that he would have a child in his progeny who would be a blessing to all the world.  The ultimate fulfillment of that prophecy occurred through this Jesus of Nazareth.

Genesis 12:3

And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. [Emphasis added]

Christ’s birth was also the literal fulfillment of a particular holy day of Israel just as the observance of the Passover had its literal fulfillment through Christ’s death on the cross.

1 Corinthians 5:7

Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: [Emphasis added]

There were several of these annual observances.  Passover was just one of them.  The literal fulfilment of it would be the crucifixion of Christ where He served as our Passover, being “the Lamb of God” who would take away the sins of the world. 

I John 2:2

And he is the propitiation [the One who satisfied the just demands of God] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. [Emphasis added]

It would be John the Baptist who would first recognize Him as the One who would do this.

John 1:29

29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. [Emphasis added]

John spoke of this prophetically.  For Jesus surely was the one who addressed our sin problem by paying the complete penalty for them on the cross.

2 Corinthians 5:21

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [Emphasis added]

It is because of Christ’s work on the cross that anyone can put their faith in Him for eternal salvation.  Christ died, was buried, and was raised from His grave so that by faith in Him we could gain justification with resultant salvation.

Romans 5:1

1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: [Emphasis added]

Still another annual observance is called the Feast of Tabernacles.  What was that all about? It was to do with God the Son tabernacling with us, that is, taking up residence in a human body on Earth.  That occurred through His birth.  The very beginning of that fulfillment was His conception.  It is this process of God becoming true humanity that this holy time represented.  So, at what time of the year did this observance occur? The correct answer to that is the first day of the Jewish month of Tabeth which corresponds to December 25 on the calendar we use today.  It was at that time that Jesus was conceived, not born.  His birth, of course, came nine months later in September on the 15th of Tisri which is the equivalent to September 29 on our calendar.  This was the first day of their seven-day observance of what is called the Feast of Tabernacles [also known as the Feast of Booths].

The earliest allusion to December 25 as the date for the birth of Christ is found in the Stromata of the writer Clement of Alexandria, written around the beginning of the third century.  That “Christmas” was at that time a pagan festival which had been observed long before the time of our Lord’s incarnation and earthly walk.  As I said earlier about this, it is not my intention to delve into this controversial subject.  In summary, here are some things we do need to know about all this.

–“Religious” tradition that doesn’t have a biblical foundation should always be questioned.  It is through personal study of the Bible itself that the truth may be learned.  Here we have the apostle Peter’s last recorded words on this.

2 Peter 3:18

18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. [Emphasis added]

Then we have the apostle Paul telling us much the same in some of his last words.

2 Timothy 2:15-16

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. [Emphasis added]

All this is to say that we should shun those we may speak of in our time as blabbermouths [instead of babblers] who don’t know what they’re talking about.  We must be diligent in our study of the Scriptures, accepting only them as our final authority no matter how widely accepted a longstanding tradition has been in place.

–Regardless of when we celebrate Christmas it is always a good time to think of sharing the Christmas story with those who are a part of our lives.

–It has always been Satan’s main objective to obscure all things pertaining to Jesus Christ and what He did to provide us with a way of salvation.  That includes everything from the conception and cradle to the cross, resurrection and ascension.

2 Corinthians 4:4-5

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. [Emphasis added]

–Our Savior was miraculously born of a virgin and, therefore, without sin so that He could serve as the one who would pay for the sins of all mankind, making salvation potential for all.

1 Timothy 2:5-6

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [Emphasis added]

 –The date which things of God took place are not nearly as important as the events themselves.  Again, it is what Jesus Christ accomplished though His death, burial, and resurrection that is most important of all.

Again, 2 Corinthians 5:21

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [Emphasis added]

When the angel first appeared to the shepherds in the field, they were very afraid.  But what wonderful news they were given! To hear what they heard about what had happened, transformed their fear into great joy, as it should anyone hearing of this wonderful story today. 

Luke 2:9-11

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. [Emphasis added]

What does this news mean to you? I hope you, too, experience the joy these shepherds experienced – for the Christmas story surely is one of the greatest stories of all time.

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