I tend to suspect that the Christians in the Roman empire were not so ill-informed, stupid, and dull as to get the date wrong after 200 years or so (when they first started celebrating Jesus birthday), and Christmas has NEVER been celebrated in the Fall.
So sorry Messianic Jews, Sukkot is NOT Jesus birthdayand 99.99% of Christ followers in history agree. You may want to get on the bandwagon and celebrate the date Jesus followers have faithfully followed for at least 1700 years.
So you can explain those shepherds watching their flocks in late December, right?
FYI, for over a thousand years the Catholic Church was notorious for slapping Catholic Holy Days on top of "pagan" Holy Days, and building churches on top of "pagan" Holy Sites.
And right around December 25, there is the Winter Solstice, which is celebrated by the "pagans" as when the sun "stops" and then restarts after three days of apparent immobility in the the zodiac, being "born" as the "new sun(son) on... what a coincidence... December 25th.
Grow up. You want to be a Christian, fine. But at least acknowledge the existence of the rest of world history before you spit.
Actually, the Romans didn’t celebrate anything at the winter solstice (as in sunny Italy, and the Mediterranean region, winter isn’t very fearsome), until about AD 180, when already about at least 25% of the Empire were Christians. It’s true that the pagans of the far north (Germany, Scandanavia, British Isles) did celebrate solstice celebrations, however, they were not in the Empire, and had different pagan beliefs...hence their practices didn’t affect the Romans, pagan or Christian.
In about AD 180 an emperor switched a holiday to the Roman sun god, “Sol Invictus” from summertime to 25 Dec...and no one really knows why. One reason though, could of been to paganize an already existing Christian holiday.
Shepherds watching flocks is easy. Biblical Archeological Review has had articles showing evidence for a permanent flock in and around Bethlehem—to supply the Temple, ALL YEAR ROUND for their daily sacrifices. This is different from traditional bedouin herds of today, or roaming herds in previous eras.
Just as today near Jerusalem, not every December night is ice cold either (though many are)....so its entirely plausible that shepherds (a totally despised, outcast, almost-homeless group at the time of Jesus) would be out-of-doors watching the Temple-supply flocks—at any time of year.
In the 1600s a Puritan scholar—who, as was typical of the day, was certain ANYTHING the Roman Catholic church did was evil....came up with the theory that Christmas (which Puritans actually made illegal to celebrate) was really a wicked pagan holiday, which the corrupt & wiley Roman Catholics Christianized.
Today we know a lot more about ancient Rome, and we know that: a) solstice holidays were not traditionally Roman or Greek and, b)the Sol Invictus holiday, on the 25th of Dec., didn’t become that...until AFTER Christianity was a major religion in the Roman empire.
Therefore it is entirely plausible that celebrating Jesus birthday came first....and the pagans tried to stop such practices by the despised (and often low class, slaves & servants) Christians, by making it into a pagan holiday, NOT visa-versa.
And yes, I’m well aware that after the time of Constantine, (from the early 300s on) it was common to convert pagan temples into churches. I don’t think that’s a bad thing necessarily either....as I’m sure they were big buildings, in central locations—and they stopped pagan worship that way too.
I just get tired of all the people that like to jump up and down to try to “prove” ancient Christian traditions are all somehow wrong (or even evil) as I do not think that serves the gospel of Jesus Christ well....when Christians are always trying to point at other Christians saying “YOU’RE WRONG WRONG WRONG!!! IN MY LITTLE CHURCH WE’RE SO MUCH SMARTER THAN YOU!!! NAH NAH NAH!”
Does anyone know for sure when Jesus birthday really was? NO. Every theory has its problems. For all the arrogance of traditionalism though, non-traditionalism is as arrogant or more...
Unless one can build an air-tight case from holy Scripture against traditional celebrations and dates—I believe it is important to honor existing Christian holidays.