The Bible’s answer
The Bible does not give a specific date for the birth of Jesus Christ. A careful analysis of Scripture, however, clearly indicates that December 25 couldn’t be the date for Christ’s birth. Here are two primary reasons:
Not in winter
1. The registration or Taxation.
Shortly before Jesus was born, Caesar Augustus issued a decree that “all the inhabited earth to be registered.” Everyone had to register in “his own city,” which could have required a journey of possibly weeks. (Luke 2:1-3) Such censuses were not taken in winter, when temperatures often dropped below freezing and roads were in poor condition. Taking a census under such conditions would have been self-defeating. That order would have been unpopular at any time of year, but it is unlikely that Augustus would have angered his subjects further by forcing them to make long trips during the cold winter.
2. The sheep.
Shepherds were “living out of doors and keeping watches in the night over their flocks.” (Luke 2:8) Shepherds were not in the fields during December. According to Celebrations: The Complete Book of American Holidays, Luke’s account “suggests that Jesus may have been born in summer or early fall. Since December is cold and rainy in Judea, it is likely the shepherds would have sought shelter for their flocks at night.” The book Daily Life in the Time of Jesus notes that flocks lived in the open air from “the week before the Passover [late March]” through mid-November. It then adds: “They passed the winter under cover; and from this alone it may be seen that the traditional date for Christmas, in the winter, is unlikely to be right, since the Gospel says that the shepherds were in the fields.”
3. Why is Christmas on December 25?
Since there is no evidence that the birth of Jesus Christ occurred on December 25, why is Christmas celebrated on this date? The Encyclopædia Britannica says that church leaders probably chose it “to coincide with the pagan Roman festival marking the ‘birthday of the unconquered sun,’” at the time of the winter solstice. According to The Encyclopedia Americana, many scholars believe that this was done “in order to make Christianity more meaningful to pagan converts.”
Historians are in general agreement that it was sometime during the fourth century. This is an amazingly late date. Christmas was not observed in Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire, until about 300 years after Christ’s death. Its origins cannot be traced back to either the teachings or practices of the earliest Christians.
For more intriguing revelations watch for my next post … coming soon.