Friday, December 20, 2019

When Was Jesus Born?

The exact date of Christ's birth is not known says the Encyclopedia of Early Christianity. Still, millions of professed Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25. This date, however, appears nowhere in the Bible. Was Jesus really born in December?
Although the Bible does not give a specific date for Jesus birth, it does provide evidence that he was not born in December. Also from secular evidence we can learn why December 25 was adopted as the date for celebrating his birth.
Luke's Gospel reports that Jesus was born in the Judean city of Bethlehem. There was also in that same country shepherds living out of doors and keeping watches in the night over their flocks. This was not unusual. The flocks had to spend the greater part of the year in the open air. But the point is that would the shepherds be outside with their flocks on a cold December night when they are suppose to pass the winter under cover? With this, it seems that the traditional date of Christmas in the winter is unlikely to be right.
Significantly, most historians and Bible scholars reject December 25 as Jesus date of birth. There is no doubt that you can find this information in an encyclopedia to which you have access. The Sunday Visitor's Catholic Encyclopedia states: "There is general agreement that Jesus was not born on December 25."
Why December 25 Was Chosen?
Hundreds of years after Jesus' death. December 25 was chosen as the date of his birth. Why? This is because numerous historians believe that the time of year that became the Christmas season was actually a period when pagan festivities were celebrated.
For instance, Encyclopedia Britannica states: "One widespread explanation of the origin of this date is that December 25 was the Christianizing of the dies solis invicti nati (day of the birth of the unconquered sun), a popular holiday in the Roman Empire that celebrated the winter solstice as a symbol of the resurgence of the sun, the casting away of winter and the heralding of the rebirth of spring and summer.
According to Encyclopedia Americana, the reason for establishing December 25 as Christmas is somewhat obscure, but it is usually held that the day was chosen to correspond to pagan festivals that took place around the time of winter solstice, when the days begin to lengthen, to celebrate the "rebirth of the sun."

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