Was Jesus Christ born in December?
The belief that the Lord Jesus Christ was born on December 25 dates back to 336 A.D. when the church of Rome led a celebration of His nativity according to earliest records found in a Roman almanac.
It began as a winter solstice festival to commemorate the pagan god Saturn and the beginning of the new solar cycle.
In 312 A.D. when Constantine I became the first emperor to adhere and convert to Christianity, church leaders under his regime tried to appropriate the winter solstice holidays with Christian beliefs.
Researchers and historians say that it was rationalized that Jesus’ birthday fell in late December by arguing that since Creation took place in the spring equinox, or late March, Jesus would have also been conceived on that date and would have been born nine months later.
Around the world, many traditions surround this famed birthdate of Jesus — from the preparation of festive meals, gift-giving, singing of Christmas carols to the setting up of trees and lanterns, and the yearly appearance of Santa Claus or St. Nicholas who is known to be the traditional patron of the Yuletide season. All these are based on the belief that Christ’s nativity happened in December.
However as The Old Path host Bro. Eli Soriano argues:
As Christians, shouldn’t our beliefs be founded on what God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the apostles have written and recorded? (1 Cor. 4:6)
So here are some biblical facts about the real birthdate of the Lord Jesus Christ as shared by Bro. Eli on his blog and The Old Path Bible Studies.
Christ was not born during the Winter season
Where the Lord Jesus Christ was born, there were shepherds staying up late at night to feed their flock of sheep (Luke 2:8).
By logic, Bro. Eli said, that the birth of Christ could not have happened in December or in the winter season, because no shepherd in his right mind would go to his field in the middle of a cold, winter night to tend to his sheep.
Christ was born during a time of census
As written in Luke 2:1, a decree from Caesar Augustus came about and ordered that all of the world should be taxed.
The succeeding verses (Luke 2:3-7) detail that Joseph and Mary, being from the lineage of David, had to travel from Galilee to Bethlehem. During this time, Mary was heavy with a child who would be the manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh.
Christ was born six months after John the Baptist
Mary and Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mother, were cousins, according to the accounts of Luke. Zechariah, Elizabeth’s spouse, was a priest who served at the Temple of the Lord during the fourth month of the Hebrew Calendar, or Tammuz, equivalent to July in the Gregorian calendar.
When Zechariah went home to Elizabeth after his duty at the Temple, John was conceived (Luke 1:5, 7, 11-13, 23-33).
And in Luke 1:26, it says that in the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy was when Mary was informed about her own conception of the Son of God whom she would call Jesus.
With these biblical facts, Bro. Eli estimated that if John was born nine months after July, which was April, it is probable that Jesus was born in late September or in the first week of October.
There was peace on earth when Jesus was born
The Apostle Luke wrote that when Christ was born (Luke 2:14), there was peace on earth. And this is the significance and the meaning of the birth of Christ.
The Lord Jesus Christ is a symbol of peace — not of explosions, not of loud noises like what Christmas traditions entail now, Bro. Eli said.
The exact birth date of Christ is not in the Bible
Why? Because the birth of Christ in the flesh is not His true birth. The more important birth of Christ was when He was begotten by God.
Jesus Christ was already given glory by the Father even before the world was created, and He came from everlasting where no counting of time of any sort exists (Psalms 2:7; John 17:5, 24; Micah 5:2).
What should Christians celebrate?
The death of His saints and servants is important to God (Eccle. 7:1; Psalms 116:15). Thus, Bro. Eli states that the death of Christ is what he and the Members Church of God International where he is the Overall Servant, celebrate, and not His birth.
The Lord Jesus Christ’s death meant His victory against the devil when He redeemed men from their sins, as it is written in Hebrew 2:14. which says:
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
So should Christians celebrate His birthday?
Biblically speaking, what Christians should be really concerned with is the commemoration of His death — and the good news of triumph it brings for all those who believe in Him.
As it is written in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 —
For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
Written by: Elizabeth Borromeo