The Heartbeat
On December five and twenty, fum, fum, fum.
On December five and twenty, fum, fum, fum.
For a Blessed Babe was born upon this day at break of morn.
In a manger poor and lowly lay the Son of God most holy,
Fum, fum, fum

And so the song and tradition goes that Jesus was born on December 25th. As Christian parents we, of course, stress this to our children as we tell them that Christmas is Jesus' birthday. In some homes there may even be a singing of "Happy Birthday" to Jesus on December 25. But was Jesus really born on December 25?

The history of the early church is a history of persecution: first by unbelieving Jewish relatives and later by the Roman Empire. Only after the conversion of Constantine, in the early 4th century, did Rome begin to change its stance towards Christianity. Rome would go from being the church's persecutor to its promoter and with that promotion came an open dialogue regarding the celebration of Jesus' birthday. The first known official mentioning of December 25 being recognized as Jesus' birthday appears in a Roman calendar from 336 A.D. Most historians believe that the December 25 date was settled upon as part of the state's new attempt to "Christianize" everything within the empire, including previously recognized pagan holidays. There already existed a pagan ritual honoring Saturn that existed around the time of the winter solstice, earth's shortest day (December 21). As the winter solstice was a day to celebrate the fact that the days would now begin to grow longer and one could already hope for winter's end, what better way to celebrate than to connect that day with the fact that God sent his Son into the world to bring hope for sin's end and a new world to come?

Could it be that Jesus was actually born on December 25? To answer that question the Biblical narratives would have us consider

  • The shepherds were in their fields at night when Jesus was born. The weather around Bethlehem is similar to that of our nation's southwest. Even in Phoenix, Arizona (the hottest major city in the U.S.) once the sun goes down in December it gets uncomfortably cold. Shepherds COULD have been in their fields at that time of the year, but it would not have been nearly as comfortable as other times.
  • Luke 1:26 makes it clear that the conception of Jesus took place when Elizabeth, Mary's relative, was about six month's pregnant. As Elizabeth's pregnancy began AFTER Zechariah's service as priest, if we can determine when Zechariah's service was in the temple (and assuming a conception immediately following, and that both Elizabeth and Mary went full term) we should be able to estimate the time of both John the Baptist's birth and Jesus' birth.
  • Zechariah's service was with the priestly division of Abijah (Luke 1:5). It is EXTREMELY difficult to determine exactly what time of the year this may have been. For a lengthy article about this (supporting a December 25 birth date of Jesus!) (see www.nowoezone.com/NTC07.htm)
  • Some have suggested a fall birth date as this would have coincided with the Feast of Tabernacles (see http://www.gatewayanabaptistichurch.com/2017/11/13)

The bottom line is that no one on earth knows for certain when Jesus was born. It could have been December 25, or it may not have been. What is agreed upon is that "in the fullness of time God sent forth his son" (Galatians 4:4) and that Son came to save us from our sins and to be our Savior and Lord.

Upcoming Events

Young Adults Sunday School
03 Oct 2021 - 09:00AM
Older Adults Sunday School
03 Oct 2021 - 09:00AM
Worship Service
03 Oct 2021 - 10:30AM
Fall Bible Study
07 Oct 2021 - 07:00PM
Young Adults Sunday School
10 Oct 2021 - 09:00AM