Christmas isn't really Jesus' birthday
"It's the most wonderful time of the year." - Edward Pola
Even before I was a Christian, I operated under the assumption that Christmas was the day of Jesus Christ's birth. It even made me feel a little spiritual considering it was the only Christian holiday I honored.
Admittedly, I cared far more about the presents under the tree than the Grace he provided for me. As you do many of us.
Yet, after my conversion, I did some digging on the history of Christmas. Only to find out that it likely isn't even the day of our Savior's birth!
The Bible doesn't have much to say on the timeline of Jesus' birth. It mentions it happens during the reign of King Herod, giving us a general year span to work off, which is mildly helpful.
There also is a mention in Luke 2:8-9 about the shepherds keeping watch over their flock of sheep when they were visited by an angel at the time of Jesus’ birth.
According to tradition, most flocks of sheep would not be in the field in December as it’s too cold and they would likely be sheltered in where it’s warm.
Obviously, there's nothing definitive here, but it does suggest that what little is known about Jesus' birth timing in the Bible may point away from a December birthday.
So, if the bible does not definitively say when Jesus’ birth is, why do we celebrate Christmas on December 25th? Well, there are lots of theories behind that. Here is the most popular one:
Around 200 - 300AD, the Christian church was working to spread the Faith among the unbelievers of the day. In doing so, they essentially took over what originally was a pagan celebration during the winter solstice (google it) of some random Roman gods and dubbed it a celebration of the birth of Christ.
It was a strategic and powerful move to help spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Surprisingly, the new holiday was not generally recognized until Emperor Constantine rose to power, bringing with him a huge amount of Christian influence.
The church knowingly did not place it with the purpose of it being on Jesus’ actual day of birth. It was likely never meant to be marketed as that.
With all of that said, you may be wondering: So when was Jesus born?
To be honest, I'm not totally certain. The verdict is still out.
After doing some study, I believe it is sometime in the fall, most likely in September. But, once again, I'm not sure!
Do your own research and come to your own conclusions. It's always exciting to look into things like these.
But even though we don’t know Christ’s day of birth, we do know He was born. We know He lived a perfect life and gave that life for us on the cross.
And for that reason, we should celebrate his existence every day, including on December 25th.
So, this Christmas, celebrate it with a pure heart. Decorate the tree, give some gifts, and watch some classic films, knowing that Jesus is still the Reason for the Season, no matter what day of the year he was born.