Christmas: When was Christ really Born?

English: Proclamation of the birth of Christ i...

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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. MorrisThe Defender’s Study Bible (notes for Luke 2:8,13)].


A Heart-filled Family Christmas


About mamaheartfilled

I am a mother of eight wonderfully challenging children and fourteen grandkids, of whom I am very proud. I am also a bi-vocational ordained evangelical minister, and a Christian Counselor. I received my B.S. degree in 2004, studying primarily in the areas of Psychology, with minors in Religion and English. I received my Masters Degree in 2009 in Psychological Counseling with an emphasis in Christian Counseling. I have endeavored to paraphrase the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. It is my hope that it will be of some use in the great commission of Christ. My ministry is primarily geared toward victims of sexual and domestic violence, including victims of childhood sexual abuse, whether currently or in the past. Since I have personally experienced the healing hand of God in overcoming many of the life issues that Christians may face, I feel qualified and compelled to discuss them in a truthful and open manner, as God’s word tells us that “We shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free.” God has brought me through such diverse tribulations as sexual, physical, and mental abuse, being a victim of a drunk driving accident, spousal pornography addiction, adultery, divorce, remarriage, a very brief, though unjust, incarceration, and having experienced multiple miscarriages and various other trials. I have been asked to leave two Southern Baptist Churches, due to my being a female, ordained as a minister, and fired from a SBC sponsored Christian School (mostly white) for speaking out against racial prejudice in the Family of God. Through God’s merciful forgiveness of my own sins and inadequacies and God’s grace given to me to forgive those who have been a stumbling block to me, I have overcome many of these adversities. God’s word tells us that “All things work together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to the purposes of God." Since I have this hope, I believe that God has blessed me with the ability to confront and relate these issues to the Christian community around the world. I hope to be able to use my personal experiences as a ministry of God’s grace and in the comforting of the people of God with the truth of God's mercy. I claim II Corinthians 1: 3 & 4 as my calling, which states: “Blessed be God, the Origin of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Origin of mercies, and the God of comfort; who comforts us in all our troubles, that we may be able to comfort those who are in trouble, by the comfort we ourselves have been given by God.” As I have received the gift of God’s healing, I hope to be able to bring the peace beyond understanding to others with the message of God’s mercy and grace. My love for the Sovereign Lord of my life, Jesus Christ, along with my passion for writing has drawn me to explore these commonly experienced crisis issues from the perspective of my own experience in the hope that I may bring an empathetic and compassionate insight to God’s people. I am now a published author and have several books in publication, including my autobiography, "A Little Redneck Theology." The views expressed in my writings are strictly my own insights, acquired from personal experience and diligent study of the related topics and God’s word concerning them. Though I am an ordained minister, my views should not be considered authoritative. I believe that the Christian community’s ultimate authority is the guidance of the human heart by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
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