For to us a child is born,
to us a child is given;
who will rule the world with strength, and whose name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Ageless One, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
We celebrate Christmas (i.e., ‘Christ sent’), the day of Christ’s birth on Dec. 25, but that probably isn’t the date of the birth of Christ. When Christians started celebrating Jesus Christ’s birth in the 300s after the Roman emperor Constantine converted to Christianity, they didn’t know the real birthday, so they picked the same day the Romans celebrated their midwinter recognitions of their own gods. The Church of Rome, which was the dominant force in Christianity at the time, wished to replace the pagan festival of the winter solstice with a Christian holy day (holiday). By replacing the unholy holiday with a holy one, they likely felt that the people were more likely to accept the change. Otherwise, a void would have been left by the Church, where there was a traditional holiday, and they would have risked upsetting the people, who then may have returned to their old ways.
Other Christians in the eastern countries of Turkey and Greece, celebrated Christmas on Jan. 6. In the fourth century, John Chrysostom argued that December 25th was the correct date and from that day till now, the Church in the East, as well as the West, has observed the 25th of December as the official date of Christ’s birth. But the Bible teaches us that the shepherds were abiding in the fields that night, which meant the birth of Christ may have taken place much earlier in the year than late December.
Some scholars believe that the shepherds normally brought their sheep into the folds near town when the temperature started to drop. They point out the Biblical fact that when Jesus was born, shepherds were watching their sheep in the hills around Bethlehem. Luke tells us that an angel appeared to “some shepherds staying out in the fields [who were] keeping watch over their flock by night” (2:8). These scholars feel that the sheep were usually brought in from November to March. While there is no solid evidence for this, some early Jewish sources seem to suggest that the sheep around Bethlehem were outside year-round, so that argument may not be valid.
If these scholars are right, though, a more likely time would be late September or possibly early October, the time of the annual Feast of Tabernacles. The date of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles is September 29. It would have been appropriate for Christ to have been born on this date, as ‘the Word was made flesh and dwelt (literally tabernacled) among us’ (John 1:14). So it is believed by most Biblical Scholars (though not certain) that Jesus’ birth was around the last of September or possibly early October.
While the birthday may have been earlier in the year, the conception of Christ would have taken place in late December, so our Christmas celebration on December 25 may be seen as an honored observation of the incarnation of ‘the Word made flesh’.” “This darkest time of the year— the time when the sun (the physical ‘light of the world’) is at its greatest distance from the Holy Land—would truly be an appropriate time for God to send the spiritual ‘light of the world’ into the world as the ‘Savior, which is Christ the Lord’ (Luke 2:11)” [Dr. Henry M. Morris, The Defender’s Study Bible (notes for Luke 2:8,13)].