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Birth Dates of Jesus and John The Baptist For longer than anyone today has been alive

, Christmas--the day Christianity marks as the birth of Jesus of Nazareth--has fallen on December 25. Why that particular date? It's speculated that the celebration was intended by early followers of Jesus to coincide with Saturnalia, the Roman celebration, so that Rome would not find Christians celebrating on a non-Roman holiday and kill them all. This would have been before Rome adopted Christianity in the Fourth Century CE (Common Era, formerly known as A.D.). Critics have said that even Rome would not have held a census in winter, where people had to travel to their family home towns to register as citizens, so December could not have been the time of year that Jesus was born. Travelling on foot for long distances in the dead of winter would surely have resulted in many deaths from exposure. By assembling various pieces of evidence from the Christian Bible, it's possible to come close to knowing when the real date likely was when Jesus was born. We will begin with John The Baptist because, as he was better known than Jesus when both were alive, the dates of his birth were better recorded at the time. The book of Luke, chapter 1, verses 56-80, tells us that Mary, mother of Jesus, and Elizabeth, mother of John, were pregnant in partly overlapping months. Mary stayed with Elizabeth for the last trimester before John was born, which was the first trimester of Mary's pregnancy. Elizabeth even predicted the pregnancy of Mary. By following the verses in Luke and using the Hebrew names for the months, we can figure out that John was born at Passover (the month of Nisan, the first month of the Jewish year). Passover usually falls somewhere around the spring equinox. John was circumcised on the eighth (and last) day of Passover, likely John's third day after birth but by Jewish tradition within his first eight days of life. Given that Mary would likely have given birth after a normal pregnancy period of 41 weeks and that Elizabeth gave birth about the end of Mary's first trimester, that leaves Mary giving birth about six months after the birth of John. Jesus, then, would have been born in the seventh month of the Jewish calendar, Tishri. The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover) begins on the 15th day of Nisan. Six months later, the Feast of Tabernacles begins on the 15th day of Tishri. Using the text from Luke chapter 2, we can calculate that

Jesus was born on the first day of Succot (the Feast of Tabernacles). That would fall around the autumnal equinox. Most modern day historians (if they believe that Jesus of Nazareth existed at all) agree that Jesus was born in what we would call the year 4 BCE (Before Common Era, formerly known as B.C.). By calculating the first day of Succot in the year 4 BCE, we can come fairly close to knowing the date Jesus was born. That would be on or about the first day of autumn in the northern hemisphere. That's not guesswork. It's all from the Bible. Bill Allin, trying to clarify fact from confusing opinions