Skip to comments.Why December 25th?
Posted on 12/24/2013 5:52:42 AM PST by Kaslin
One of the most popular theories and commonly taught explanations for why Christmas is on Dec. 25th is because the early church placed Christian holidays at times of Roman celebration to co-opt the local pagan festivals.
Christians placed Christmas on Dec. 25th to co-opt Saturnalia, the mid-winter festival, or possibly the Festival of the Unconquered Sun -- Sol Invictus. The theory went that Christians could get the heathen to convert by co-opting their own holidays.
There is one problem -- it sounds more convincing than it is. These theories did not start growing until the 12th century and only became popular once comparative religion became trendy after the 18th century. Going back to the earliest Christian church finds evidence that Christmas, though not initially celebrated, had starting being commemorated well before the Feast of the Unconquered Sun's creation for entirely Christian reasons.
In Egypt, less than 300 years after Christ's death, some Christians celebrated his birth in the spring. As the Biblical Archeology Society has noted, the earliest references to Christmas come at about 200 A.D., at a time Christians were not incorporating other religious traditions into their own. By 300 A.D., many Christians were celebrating his birth around Dec. 25th. Within 100 years, Christmas was on the calendar record. Christians looked to December because the early church was far more interested in Jesus's death. His death and resurrection is what matters to the Gospel, and that was the date the early church focused on.
"Around 200 A.D., Tertullian of Carthage reported the calculation that the 14th of Nisan in the year Jesus died was the equivalent to March 25 in the Roman calendar," said Andrew McGowan last year at the Biblical Archaeology Society. That would be the day of Crucifixion. The math from there is rather simple. Nine months later would be Dec. 25. Early church history held as fact that the prophets and martyrs of the church were conceived on the day they died. So if Christ died on March 25, it was also the anniversary of his conception.
Separately, and more directly from the Bible, Luke 1 tells us Zacharias, John the Baptist's father, was in the priestly division of Abijah. Based on a calculation of this and the division of priest in the temple in 70 A.D. when the temple fell, a number of early Church historians presumed Zacharias would have been in the temple in early October. Later historians, however, speculate it would have been June. The Gospel of Luke tells us when Zacharias left the temple, his wife conceived. "In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazaerth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David," Luke 1:25-26 notes.
Six months after Zacharias left the temple would be March as Mary's time of conception. Fast forward nine months and again we find ourselves in December. With the very earliest Church fathers settling on March 25th as Christ's death and believing fully that Christ's death would occur on the anniversary of his conception, the early church reinforced its belief well before there is any written accusation or evidence of the church incorporating Saturnalia or Sol Invictus into its celebrations. It is important to note, however, that most scholars reject setting Christ's birth to Zacharias's temple service because of problems related to really knowing when he was there.
But there are three final points. One can look at all of this and conclude the church fathers got it wrong. But the real question is whether they themselves thought they got it wrong. They were pretty sure they were right. The earliest Christians refused to celebrate birthdays, but by 300 A.D., there was growing evidence the Church had noted Christ's birthday around December 25th.
Second, some of the earliest traditions of the early Church held that Christ was born on what would be a Wednesday. This year, we too will celebrate Christ's birth on a Wednesday.
Finally, the date of Christ's birth is not important. What is important is that he is.
Anyway, it is when Santa comes!!
Here is a link to the storm earlier this month with over two feet of snow in this area. Shepherds aren't stupid. Such a storm would decimate their flock.
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Well, they would have died in the wool....
Its always interesting that the question is never addressed, did the apostles teach it? Did God institute it? I dont care what your view or practice on holidays is. But the lack of concern of scripture teaching and practice is rather telling it seems.
Which is worse, non-believers attempting to disprove the existence of God by questionable science or the religious attempting to prove His existence by questionable history? You believe or you don’t. If you require proof to support your faith, you have none.
The New Testament more than once refers to Christ being
born and “tabernacling” among us—ie, strongly
suggesting that he was born during Sukkot—the festival
which commemorated the time when Israel lived in tents
in the wilderness, and God Himself personally dwelt among them.
(that would place his birth in Sept.-Oct)
You are welcome
Calendars used to be such messy things, and even now, they are not entirely perfect, with an artificial day created every four years, and the measurement being determined by two different means, the sidereal calendar and the solar calendar. Add to that the irregularity of the lunar cycles with the defined length of this construction of what constitutes a “year”, and there is plenty of room for sloppiness in reckoning.
Stealing the dates of a pagan holiday was about as good an idea as any for, first, displacing the pagan celebrations, and secondly, finding some “common ground” by which to make religious conversions.
It is no coincidence that “Kwanzaa” has also tried to hijack the Christmas holiday.
Finally, the date of Christ's birth is not important. What is important is that he is.
Martin Luther sez? Wasnt he the Catholic monk/priest who thought Mary and Joseph disobeyed God in their marriage?
They didn’t have barns. The sheep were always outside.
Someone or group would point out problems if it was August 12th.
See “Bethlehemstar.net” for a well researched explanation of the Star, when it was first seen, when Jesus was born, when the Wise men visited him (our Christmas celebration) and when he rose.
I hate to repeat anything that Hillary said BUT “what difference does it make?”
Christ was born, he died for us, he is the Son of God. We celebrate his birth and his death. That is all!
Wow. I had never heard that conception/death occurred on the same day according to their culture. I was born on March 25th and have always known it was special as the Annunciation. That is was the day also of the Crucifixion wow. Frodo also threw the Ring of Power into the cracks of doom on March 25th. It was usually considered the Spring equinox. It is certainly a day of power. It used to be the first day of the year.
Maybe they were led by Obamacare navigators.
Christmas I suspect is whats happening in Revelation 11, when the whole world ‘makes merry and sends gifts one to another’ and what the deeper spiritual meaning behind that is, is not entirely clear yet (to me) beyond the pagan heathen origins of it,
But that aside, its my belief, after looking into it many years ago, that he was born in late September of 2 BC, likely the 27th to the 29th,
Which is interesting if true, as it would make him exactly 33 years old, with 360 day years (to the very day) on the Sunday prior to the crucifixion or the day before, Wednesday (midst of the week) in 32 AD,
March 14, 445 BC, as the starting point of the 490 years (or 70 weeks) determined per Daniel 9:26, is 69 sevens (x360 days) or 173, 880 days exactly counting to April 6th, 32 AD, while September 27, 2 BC is precisely 11,880 days to the same day.
March 14th, 445 BC———483 years——>| April 6th,32 AD
September 27, 2 BC-————33 years——>| April 6th,32 AD
Merry Christmas ...
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.
20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:
23 Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, God with us.
24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife,
25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgins name was Mary.
28 And having come in, the angel said to her, Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!
29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.
30 Then the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.
32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.
34 Then Mary said to the angel, How can this be, since I do not know a man?
35 And the angel answered and said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,;
5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.
6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
10 Then the angel said to them, Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!
15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.
16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.
17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.
18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.
11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, This was He of whom I said, He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.
16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
Santa is a PC version of Odin.
His horse ate the bodies of the slain, hence “Rudolph the Red Nose.”
Norse children would put straw in their stockings for his horse, and get presents in return.
When eweing, they would not be in the fields, but rather, close to home.
Mark, largely thought to be the earliest gospel, didn’t mention his birth at all.
Matthew and Luke came later, and didn’t have first hand knowledge, as shown by their need to use Mark as a reference.
The sacrificial sheep, used daily, were kept at Jerusalem year round on the side near bethlehem. Its a mere six miles between jerusalem and bethlehem. Anywhere in between is where the sheep were apparently located that night. Anyone will graze animals rather than use foodstores if that particular day is mild to save resources.
The symbolism of the angels appearing to the shepherds of the sacricial sheep is significant.
You really need to take your Roman Paganism to someone else. Ill not have anything to do with you.
Odin has nothing to do with Roman paganism.
Yep. John conceived two days after the course of Abia on June 25, Christ conceived 6 months later on Dec 25, born on Sept 29.
2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness
God wants us to care enough about Him to know these things.