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Why December 25th was chosen as Christ’s birthday


The angel Gabriel announcing Mary's conception by Paolo de Matteis 1712. This was part of the Feast of Annunciation (Mary's conception) celebrated by some Catholics on March 25th.

The angel Gabriel announcing Mary’s conception by Paolo de Matteis 1712. This was part of the Feast of Annunciation (Mary’s conception) celebrated by some Catholics on March 25th.

There is much debate on why December 25th was chosen as the day Jesus was born.

There is little Biblical evidence that reveals the date of Jesus’ birth. Luke 2:8 refers to shepherds in the fields suggesting Jesus’ birth took place in the spring when shepherds were with their flocks during lambing.

Maybe not coincidentally, John refers to Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:29).

Clement of Alexandria (150 AD – 215 AD), an Egyptian Christian teacher, had cited May 20th and April 20th or 21st as possible dates of Christ’s birth fitting the spring theory.

By 400 AD, December 25th along with January 6th were considered the dates for Christ’s birth with December 25th the leading contender and eventual winner. The December date was listed as Jesus’ birth on an ancient Roman almanac from the 4th century that listed the death dates of early Christian martyrs.

The most popular reason why December 25th was chosen is because the church was Christianizing the pagan celebration of Sol Inviticus — a sun-god — that Roman Emperor Aurelian had introduced on that date in 274 AD

However, in his article, How December 25, became Christmas, historian Andrew McGowan suggests December 25th was selected for a much different reason.

He notes that it wasn’t until later — the 12th century — that Christian writers first suggested the date was chosen deliberately to overrule the sun-god festival.

McGowan says early Christian writers from the 4th century noted December 25th was the date of the sun-god holiday but considered Christ’s birth falling on the same day as coincidental.

Some even considered it providential that God would overrule this pagan holiday. This does not suggest any intentional attempt to end a pagan celebration.

If this is the case then how did they arrive at December 25th?

Because of the Biblical record, the early Christian writers had a much more exact estimate of the day Christ died. Tertullian (160 AD to 225 AD), a Christian apologist from Carthage, said March 25th was the date of Christ’s death.

An interesting theory began to develop shortly after this that Jesus’ conception and death took place on the same day of the year — March 25th. Basically, Jesus arrived from heaven (His conception) and went back to heaven (His death) on the same day.

In the culture of the day, if this happened, it indicated that a person was particularly blessed by God. Of course, it was natural to presume this is what happened to Jesus.

In fact, a special religious day was eventually developed to celebrate Gabriel’s announcement to Mary that she had conceived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:26-39). Called the Feast of the Annunciation or conception, it is still celebrated on March 25th in the Catholic Church particularly among those who revere Mary.

As this theory gained a foothold, others began to note if the Holy Spirit conceived Jesus on March 25th, then His birth would have been nine months later — towards the end of December.

McGowan says one of them was Christian theologian and philosopher Augustine (354 AD – 430 Ad). In his book, On the Trinity, Augustine, citing the March 25th conception date stated that Jesus was born December 25th as was traditionally accepted. — EZ

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  1. As I explained years ago in my book: “End Times and 2019” – the mere fact that Christmas is always on December 25 shows it was invented well after 300 AD, unlike the older holidays that are based on a lunar calendar, like Easter, which move around from late March to late April in our modern solar calendar.

    Luke 2:8 tells us shepherds slept out in the fields with their sheep when Jesus was born, but shepherds usually stopped doing that when it got cold by early October. As Adam Clarke said almost 200 years ago in his bible commentaries: they “bring them home at the commencement of the first rain… as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25th of December.”

    Luke also mentioned that Jesus’ parents were coming to Bethlehem for the Roman census, which would not be scheduled during foul winter weather to guarantee low turnout – they were always at the end of the fall harvest, to make the count at the first of the new year in the Hebrew calendar – much like a census for 2020 might ask – where did you reside on January 1, 2020? (Rosh Hashanah in most years, including 2019 and 2020, is in late September.)

    Based on Luke 1:23-24 and Chronicles 24:7-19, we can tell when the priest Zacharias had his temple duties and when he came home to impregnate his wife Elizabeth with the yet unborn John the Baptist – in late June. Luke 1:24-31 tells us how six months later, the Archangel Gabriel tells Mary the Holy Spirit is about to conceive a child (Jesus) with her (in late December.) This would place Jesus’ likely birth in late September.

    When the Persian astronomers – the magi from the East – came to King Herod in Jerusalem and explained how they knew Jesus had been born (through the astronomical knowledge and Jewish traditions available since Daniel and his companions came to Babylon – one could have calculated the exact date over four centuries ahead of time) what did Herod do? He was angry that the Persians informed him the Jews had forgotten their own ancient wisdom and had not been “awake” to knowing when their own Messiah was due, but the king believed them when it was explained. To kill this rival baby “king” he ordered all the male babies “two years and under according to the time which he determined from the magi.” Herod died a well-recorded death on November 27, 4 B.C. He must have been most concerned about male toddlers two years old some time before November.

    In my book I also cover the important connection between Bethlehem on the ground, and Bethulah-Lehem in the sky, the sun over the star Spica – the wheat or bread of the virgin (Virgo.) This leads all me to conclude the magi knew way ahead of time that the Jewish Messiah was due to be born on September 27, 6 B.C.

    Similar techniques lead me to conclude that we might see the fulfillment of end times prophecies during Hanukkah 2019, when the skies match the biblical descriptions – AND even more impressively, the sun, moon, and planets move in a way that appears to act out all major steps of an ancient Jewish wedding ceremony. Right down to the giving of the ring, fulfilled by the “diamond ring effect” visible to observers of a total solar eclipse, which will be visible from Jerusalem at sunrise this December 26. (This also fulfills Isaiah 13:10 stating the sun will be dark when it rises.) It could very well also fulfill the prediction of an eclipse and pole shift in Matthew 24:29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”

    If interested in such things, consider reading more:

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