A Christmas Message
Merry Christmas to all my FAMILY AND FRIENDS. I thought I would share something I researched and wrote in 2006. It doesn't matter if you agree or disagree, I just hope you enjoy reading.
I've done a lot of study on the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ and I have concluded that Jesus was born near the date we celebrate it. Here is a short version of the 9 pages I have through researching the facts. One thing we know for sure, early in the 4th century, Pope Julius 1 declared December 25th to be the date for Christians to celebrate the birth of Jesus and no one knows for sure why he chose that day. Some have said it was because of the revelry celebration of the winter solstice but that can't be proved. Did he know something that we don't know or did have access to records or tradition that we don't have? I've heard ALL the arguments so please don't send me anything you get off the internet especially about the shepherds in the field. Just because you get it over the internet doesn't make it so. Over 90% of my findings come from the Bible and from Jewish background and very little from the internet. I've heard preachers and others state so called facts about why Jesus couldn't have been born in December or any of the winter months only to have them refuted by Jewish Christian scholars and even traditions that continue today.
Back in my seminary days I had a professor who was Jewish and he believed that we have the right date or at least close. Dr. Branch had done a thorough study of the Scriptures and also using Jewish scholars including tradition. The Bible is clear when Elizabeth conceived and John the Baptist was born. The time that Zechariah was in the temple performing his duties is crucial. There are way too many Scriptures to give but they all can be found in Luke's story of the birth and also 1 Chronicles 24:1-10 gives the order of priestly service. Zechariah from the sons of Abijah would have finished his service and returned home in early October our month and his wife Elizabeth probably conceived in the middle of October. You can do the study yourself to see when Mary visited Elizabeth and all the details.
Then there is the problem some make with the Shepherds in the field in December. According to both Jewish and American shepherds, that is when they should have been in the fields because that is the time of lambing. Not only is that but Bethlehem the home of two famous shepherd fields where sheep were attended to for Temple sacrifices in Jerusalem. According to Jewish historians, shepherds were in attendance there year around.
Some scholars have a very strong opinion that December 25th was the date and several have got their information from the Dead Sea Scrolls. I haven't studied them and I'm not sure what kind of information they got from the scrolls but they say the scrolls confirm a December birth.
The Jehovah Witness say that we Christians got Christmas from the pagans. You can study European and ancient history about the celebration of both the winter and spring solstice that was one great big drunken party. In the 4th century when Julius 1 decreed December 25th as the day for Christians to celebrate the birth of Christ, he may have done so because the Catholics and pagans were already celebrating the winter solstice. But think about it, the shortest and darkest day of the year, what a great day for the Light of the world to be born. And also our December was the time for lambs to be born, what a great time for the Lamb of God to be born.
I use to waver back and forth with the time and season Christ was born until I heard a preacher preach an hour long sermon on the subject. He used mostly Scripture and also read written statements from shepherds from the Bethlehem area proving the history of shepherds being in the field in December. That was many years ago but I thought back in time how that Dr. Branch knew what he was talking about. The time or season doesn't matter because we don't celebrate solstice or any other pagan holiday, we celebrate the birth of our Savior. Merry Christmas and God Bless!!!