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Born On December 25th?

Many people think that Jesus Christ was born on the 25th December; and to most Christians,
this is a holiday known as Christmas. But surprisingly, there is neither Biblical nor historical
evidence to confirm this date, on the contrary, there are indications in the New Testament that
show that Jesus was born on other than this date. Historical facts also prove that December
25th is the day observed by pagans as the birthday of some of their gods.

In this concise article, we do not intend to present facts which prove that December 25th was
the birthday of some gods, nor prove from an Islamic stance that Jesus was not born on this
day. Our aim is to prove from the Bible that Prophet Isa (Jesus) was not born on this day.
Here we present three evidences from the Bible itself.

Flocks in the Field

The month of December in the northern hemisphere, and in the land of Palestine where Jesus
was born, is the winter season when the climate is rainy and very cold. According to the Song
of Solomon 2:11 and Ezra 10:9, 13, during the winter the shepherds kept their flocks in barns
to be protected from the rain, cold and wind. Now let us see what the Bible says about the
season when Jesus was born.Luke 2:8 says: "And there were in the same country shepherds
abiding in the field, keeping 'watch over their flocks by night." This verse obviously proves
that at the time of the birth of Jesus the shepherds were in the field tending their flocks at
night. It is impossible for the flocks to be in the field in the month of December when the
temperature was at it lowest of the year. According to The Geography of the Bible by Denis
Baly, the last week of December corresponds to the tenth month of the Jewish sacred calendar
known as Tebeth, when there is frequent frosts and occasional snow florishes in Jerusalem.
(Aid to Bible Understanding, N.Y. 1971, P. 1580). Therefore, at this time the shepherds corral
their flocks in order to protect them from the rain and cold weather. This chronological fact
proves that Jesus was not born in winter.

No Room in the Inn

The second proof that Jesus was not born on December 25th is Luke's narration that Jesus was
born in a manger because there was no room in the inns. Every year the Jews celebrate the
Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles in the seventh Hebrew
month of Tishri. These festivals are observed in Jerusalem and its outskirts towns in the
autumn season. At this time, Jerusalem and its surrounding towns are overcrowded with Jews
who come to celebrate, that all inns are filled with people. Mary and Joseph as Jews, used to
go to Jerusalem every year to observe these Holy Days. Luke 2:41 says that "His (Jesus)
parents went to Jerusalem every year." Nevertheless, every Jew must pay taxes in the month
of Tishri in the early autumn.

Here we have the second proof that at the time of taxation Joseph took Mary with him to
Bethlehem. We read in Luke 2:5-7 that Joseph went to Bethlehem "with Mary his espoused
wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were
accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first born son, and
wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was not room for
them in the inn." Mary and Joseph could not get a room in the inn because all inns were filled
with Jews who had come to Jerusalem and its surrounding towns by the thousands in order to
pay taxes and observe the Holy Days which are in the month of Tishri at the end of the civil
year in the early autumn. It was at this time Jesus was born in the early autumn and not in
December which is in winter.

The Twenty-Four Courses

In the days of Jesus, the Jewish priests continued to follow the course or division of serving
the Temple of the Lord which was set up by David. Every priest used to serve the Temple by
turn once a week, day and night. There were 24 courses, each named after the priest of the
descendant of Aaron. Each priest was assigned by David to serve the Temple for a one-week
period every six months. (see I Chronicle 24: 7-24). Therefore, it took 24 weeks to conclude
the 24 courses of the service of the priests in the Temple of the Lord. The first course known
as Jehoiarib began on the Sabbath day in the month of Nisan of the Hebrew calendar. Nisan is
in the spring season. The course of Maaziah is the twenty forth and the last course. The first
course Jehoiarib is repeated in the week of the civil year. Therefore the courses came twice a
year during 48 weeks. After knowing this division of the courses, we can know when John the
Baptist was born, so that we can easily know the birthday of Jesus.

When Zacharias was in the Temple of the Lord, Gabriel, the Angel of God came to give him
the glad tidings of the son to be born by his wife. "There was in the days of Herod, the king of
Judea, a priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia; and his wife was of the daughter of
Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth."(Luke 1:5). This verse shows that when Zacharias was
given the glad tidings of the son to be born, he was serving the Temple of the Lord in the
course of Abia. I Chronicles 24:10 shows that Abia (or Abijah) was the eighth course. This
means that it was in the ninth week (including the first week of Passover) after the beginning
of the first month of Nisan. Therefore, he was serving between lyar 27 and Sivan 5 of the
Hebrew calendar (June 1 to June 8) after calculating from April 6, 5 B.C., which was on
Sabbath of the month of Nisan

The human gestation period is about 9 months and 10 days. Therefore, if we calculate from
the time that Zacharias was given the glad tidings of the son to be born, up untill the child
John was delivered, we get March 27 (about the first of Nisan) as the birthday of John the
Baptist. Now, Jesus was 6 months younger than John, because in the sixth month" after
Zacharias was given the glad. tidings, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to Mary to tell her
that she "shall conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name
JESUS." (Luke 1:26,31). If we add 6 months from the birthday of John (i.e. about March 27/
Nisan I) we get the birthday of Jesus Christ about mid-September (first of Tishri), which was
in early autumn. This is the third proof that Jesus was not born in December!

Origins in Paganism

The fact that Jesus was not born on December 25th and that the celebration of Christmas has
its origins in paganism and it was introduced in Christianity in the fourth century is admitted
by the Roman Catholic Church itself. The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911 edition, under the
heading, "Christmas" says: "Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church...
the first evidence of the feast is from Egypt... Pagan customs centering around January
gravitated to Christmas."

The Encyclopedia America also confirms this fact: "The celebration was not observed in the
first centuries of the Christian church... a feast was established in memory (of Jesus' birth) in
the 4th century. In the 5th century the Western church ordered the feast to be celebrated on
the day of the Mithraic rites of the birth of the sun and at the close of the Saturnalih (resulting
in the December 25 date)... Most of the customs now associated with Christmas... were pre-
Christian and non-Christian customs taken up by the Christian church. Saturnalia, a Roman
feast celebrated in mid-December, provided the model for many of the merry making customs
of Christmas." (1956 ed., vol.6, P.622).

Why should one celebrate Christmas when it is quite clear that from the Bible and. history
that Jesus was not born on December 25th? Any true follower of Jesus Christ will refrain
from observing paganic customs and beliefs which have been introduced into the pure
teachjngs of Prophet Jesus. It is known that besides the Christmas and Easter holidays which
have been introduced to Christianity by paganism, other beliefs such as the trinity, sonship
and crucifixion of Jesus are also of pagan origin.

Source: Echo of Islam