The Pagan Beliefs Surrounding Christmas/The Date Jesus was Born
Was Jesus born on December 25?[edit | edit source]
The Bible doesn't explicitly state the date of Jesus' birth, but it does give clues. Luke 2:8-14 speaks of shepherds living outdoor and tending to a flock of sheep. The text reads, "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night." Some people have concluded that this would be an unlikely practice in the month of December, for it is argued that the weather conditions would be too cold to live outside or tend to a flock of sheep.
On the other hand, the lands immediately to the east of Bethlehem begin to descend sharply down toward the Dead Sea, so that it is much warmer, even in December. Shepherds would not keep their sheep in the immediate vicinity of Bethlehem at any time of the year since sheep are always kept away from farmlands so as to avoid the sheep eating crops. It is therefore reasonable that the birth of Christ took place at any time of the year, including December.
The Book of Luke tells us that John the Baptist was 6 months older than Jesus, [Luke 1:26]. The book also tells us when John was conceived so it is possible to approximate the time of John's birth...and that of Jesus.
John's father, Zechariah, served as a priest in the division of Abijah, [Luke 1:5]. His priestly duty entailed one week of temple service every year plus three more weeks during the three yearly festivals.
His division was the eighth so his period of temple service began in the eighth week of the year, [I Chronicles 24:10]. The Hebrew year, being lunar, began in the spring around late March early April. The eighth week would then generally fall around the first of June the way we show the months of the year on our calendar.
Luke 1:23-24 tells us that Elizabeth, John's mother, became pregnant right after Zechariah's service in the temple. This would have been mid June....approximately. This means that John the Baptist would have been born around mid March....or close to Passover. Jesus would have been conceived in John's sixth gestational month by the Holy Spirit, [Luke 1:26] which would have been December....so Jesus would have been born around the middle of September. This event would have probably taken place about the time of the last Hebrew Holiday of Sukkot,(Feast of Tabernacles). Since everyone was expected to travel to Jerusalem for the three annual feasts this is probably the real reason why there was no room in the inn.
During the Feast Days the normal population of Jerusalem, 120,000, would probably swell to well over 1,500,000 folks. This would not be the case in the Month of December as there were no annual Feast Days then. Bethlehem, being a "suburb" of Jerusalem would likely fill up quickly with the overflow. This time would also be consistent with the shepherds still in the fields during September. The weather in Israel during December can be quite cold so flocks are usually brought into shelter no later than the middle of October.
The 25th of December date is not scriptural and as you can see by the above evidence is not likely.