Most know Christ was not born on December 25. Does it really matter?
[Darris McNeely] You know Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th, but you also may say, “Why does it matter? It doesn’t really matter.” Look up in any history book, any story giving the details about Christmas, Christ’s birth, most people understand that He was not born on December 25th. What most people don’t really understand is that you can note from the scripture why He was not born on December 25th, and there’s an important reason why that does matter. The story is very simple.
You look into the book of Matthew, especially in the book of Luke, the accounts of the birth of Jesus Christ you are struck with two very common sense items. First of all that it tells you that the shepherds were still in the fields with their flocks on the night Jesus was born. Now anyone who’s traveled to the Middle East, anyone who even watches today’s news knows that sheep are not going to be in the field at this time of year. Just a few days ago Jordan and the state of Israel, that whole region there, had several inches of snow dumped upon it in a storm that is not too infrequent. Now that does happen in that part of the world. It is more of an arid desert area, but they do get snow, and it does get cold in the winter time. The idea that sheep would’ve been with their shepherds in the fields is not one that really matches up with the timing of December 25th and the account that we have.
There’s another reason. It is that Joseph with Mary according to the decree from Caesar went from their home in Nazareth south to Bethlehem because of a commanded census. So again no government official would’ve commanded that that census take place. At that particular point in the mid-winter people were home. They were not traveling unless it was absolutely necessary at that time.
When you look at what scriptures do tell us and the accounts of the birth of Jesus and John the Baptist, both being about six months apart, John the Baptist being born according to what we can discern from scripture and understanding that period of time near the end of March, and because his mother Elizabeth was pregnant already when Mary went to her according to the account. We fast-forward six months from the end of March, you come to the end of September. When was Jesus born? The early fall, late September, early October as we on our calendar today. That autumn period is most likely a time according to the scripture, according to what we know about the timing of Mary’s pregnancy and that of Elizabeth’s pregnancy her cousin. And so, the scriptural account gives us very plain understanding that it was not December 25th.
And this does make an important point. The birth of Jesus Christ was and is vitally important to the story of God, the Bible, and salvation. And when we come to understand the story of Christ’s birth and His life, death, and resurrection it’s important that it all lines up properly, that not only do we understand it, but that we worship and we obey God in what is called spirit and in truth. Worshippers of God, the people of God are going to do so. We cannot even take a day that we might think is convenient or according to custom or tradition. December 25th in the middle of winter for all of the known reasons, it’s connection with paganism, it being the time of a winter saturnalia, time of the winter solstice, and connected with all of the pagan worship of the ancient world, we cannot take that day, put it on the event that the Bible describes when there is no clear instruction to do so in the first place, and then claim to be worshipping God in spirit and in truth.
True worshippers are going to be doing it according to worshipping God according to spirit and truth in that tradition, and that’s what’s important. Get that right, and you’re on the road to understanding who Jesus was and why He was born.
That’s BT Daily. Join us next time.