Was Jesus really born on the 25th December?

Dec 20, 2013 by

There is no real evidence for this date, certainly not in the bible.

Was Jesus born on December 25? There is no real evidence for this date, certainly not in the bible. So then the first thing we must ask is, who and when was it decided that Jesus’ birth would be celebrated on this date?


So Why December the 25th ?

The early Christian church did not celebrate Jesus’ birth. It wasn’t until A.D. 440 that the church officially proclaimed December 25 as the birth of Christ. This was not based on any religious evidence but on a pagan feast. Saturnalia was a tradition inherited by the Roman pagans from an earlier Babylonian priesthood. December 25 was used as a celebration of the birthday of the sun god. It was the day of reversals. A holiday during which masters became slaves and slaves became masters for a day. Christians appropriated this date from the pagans.

So if it wasn’t December 25th can we deduce a likely date when Jesus was born?

On the surface, the accounts of Matthew and Luke reveal little about the time of Jesus’ birth. No dates are given, no season of the year is named. As a well-regarded historian, Luke, however, provides a sound, orderly account of the events that removes any doubt as to the general time of Jesus’ birth. All the clues are there, and all that is required is to dig them out and put them in order to discover the truth.


The Clues

The first thing to realise is that Jesus wasn’t born in 0 AD but somewhere in between 6BC and 4BC.
Jesus was born during the reign of King Herod in Bethlehem where Mary & Joseph went to regster for a census during the governorship of Quirinius: Herod died in 4BC and the census is believed to have taken place in 6BC. This anomaly was a result of an error made when the Anno Domini system of dating was calculated by the Italian monk, Dionysius Exiguus in AD 525.

Palestine is very cold in December, too cold to ask the populace to travel to the city of their fathers to register for taxes. Also the shepherds were in the fields (Luke 2:8-12). Shepherds were not in the fields in the winter time. They are in the fields early in March until early October.
This would place Jesus’ birth between the spring and early Autumn

Scholars have calculated that Jesus lived for 33.5 years. As he died at the feast of the Passover (ie Christian Easter time), he must therefore have been born six months the other side of Easter – making the date around the September/October time frames.


A Conclusion

Although no one can say for sure it is likely that Jesus was born in the early Autumn (September/October) sometime between 6BC and 4BC

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