The Origin of Christmas Day

Although most of the Christian world celebrates the birth of our Lord on December 25, the Bible indicates otherwise.

"And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail,thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. (Luke 1:26-28)

This would be the sixth month of the Jewish Calendar, which is quite confusing as it is actually two calendars in one. The Jews had a Civil and a Sacred calendar. The Civil calendar was used as the official calendar for kings, childbirth and contracts. The Sacred calendar was used to compute the time of the religious festivals.

To make matters worse, the Jewish calendar had only 354 days. This meant that every 3 years, they had to add an extra month to their calendar in order for the seasons to remain accurate.

The Holy Land is roughly located in the northern hemisphere in the same latitudes as the mid-U.S. This means winters there are harsh. From October to February, it is so cold that shepherds cannot stay out in the field. This one fact most certainly rules out the possibility that Jesus was born in December, for the shepherds were still abiding in the field keeping their flocks by night. (Luke 2:8) Also, a tax census could not have been called during the harvest time, or during extreme cold as no one could travel. Therefore, the birth of Jesus must have been in warmer months.

If Luke’s "sixth month" was reckoned using the Sacred calendar, and Mary conceived at that time, Jesus’ birth nine months later would be in the month of Iyyar or Sivan, corresponding to late spring or early summer, and the middle of the growing season. If however, the sixth month was the month of Adar, it would put the birth of Jesus sometime between Tisri or Heshvan depending on whether it was a Jewish leap year with the extra month or not. Some scholars have placed the actual birth of Jesus within the later part of the month of September. This would roughly coincide with the month of Tisri, the first month of the Jewish Civil Calendar.

Now the interesting thing about this is that the Jewish Civil Calendar starts with Rosh Hashonah, The Feast of Trumpets, which celebrates God’s creation of the world. Many of the events in Jesus’ life were closely linked to the Jewish Festivals. We also read that Jesus was the "first of all creation," hence this would be an appropriate feast to associate with His birth. Jesus died during the Feast of Passover where he became our Passover Lamb. The Holy Ghost first fell on Pentecost, the Festival of Weeks or the Harvest Festival.

The date of December 25, was originally observed as a pagan religious festival in honor of the Babylonian Queen Astarte. The Chaldeans called it ‘Yule Day" or "Child Day". The celebration included the use of a tree, to which gifts were tied. The "yule log" was cast into the tree knocking loose the presents which were considered "divine gifts from the gods." It was made a Christian holiday by the Catholic Church in the fourth century to appease converted pagans who were still tempted to celebrate the old festival.

No matter when Christ was born, it is important that we remember Him and the purpose of His coming; to save souls.

Our Holiday Special Issue continues with these offerings:

World Holidays November-December 2003 - Winter Festivals and Lighting Displays 2003 - Saying Merry Christmas In Many Languages - Origin Of December 25th As Christmas Day
Story of the Candy Cane - Christmas in The USA - Treats To Leave For Santa
Fable of St. Nick - Poetry: Christmas Recalled - Poetry: Whispers The Wind
Holiday Traditions Revisited - Movies: Santa Films - Gift Ideas for Computer Owners
Picture Perfect Gift Ideas - Religion: Luke's Christmas Story From The Bible
Recipe: Cooking A Turkey Recipe: Turkey Teriyaki - Movavian Love-Feast Buns
SUFGANIYOT - A Solitary Wicca Yule Ritual - Why Are There Christmas Lights? -

From last year (2002):
Holiday Festivals, Displays and Events - Bah Humbug! - Gift Ideas Under $10
Some Unique Mail Order Gifts - Staying In The Holiday Spirit
Holidays Around the World

From two years ago (2001):
Holiday Festivals, Displays and Events - Diwali - India's Festival Of Lights
Holidays Around the World - How Christmas Is Celebrated In Many Countries
The Origin of Some Christmas Traditions - Picking and Trimming a Christmas Tree
Shipping Your Holiday Gifts - Oh Ye Disbelievers: The Fable of Saint Nick - Gifts She'll Love
Techno Gifts - CD Musical Stocking Stuffers from Then to Now - Every pick's a hit! -
Recipe: Christmas Cake - Craft: Wreaths - Craft: Stockings

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