Today and tomorrow the birth of Jesus is celebrated. This article raises the date question with a few videos. The story of Jesus’ birth was originally documented by the Gospel of Luke ( Luke 2,1-14 ). Here is the video recording of the Christmas mass with Pope Francis Omelia:
The disciples and earliest believers had no interest in discussing the birthday of their Messiah for the first 200 years.
several different dates were proposed over the years. Some suggested dates in March or April. January was also a popular month, as well as November.
Jehovah’s witnesses talk today about September as a possible time of birth but that can be discussed as I write about below.
It is however, not an important question.
December 25 is rather to be considered a day of remembrance instead of a historical day.
But it is quite clear that Jesus was not born December 25, 2020 years ago at the beginning of the first century. And he was in my humble opinion, not born in Bethlehem but in Nazareth.
It is absurd to think that a pregnant woman during her last month, would make a very long trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem to register the family riding on a donkey as Luke said in 2:1-5. Luke as a doctor, should have known that.
The text of Luke
( N:B. The texts below are copied from www.christianwritingtoday.com/free_downloads/WebNT_CWTedition.pdf )
Luke 2,1-14 says:
2:1 Now it happened in those days, that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled.
2:2 This was the first enrollment made when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
2:3 All went to enroll themselves, everyone to his own city.
2:4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David;
2:5 to enroll himself with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him as wife, being pregnant. 2:6It happened, while they were there, that the day had come that she should give birth.
2:7 She brought forth her firstborn son, and she wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a feeding trough, because there was no room for them in the inn.
2:8 There were shepherds in the same country staying in the field, and keeping watch by night over their flock.
2:9Behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
2:10 The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be to all the people.
2:11 For there is born to you, this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
2:12 This is the sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a feeding trough.”
2:13 Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army praising God, and saying,
2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will toward men.”.
The day of birth
Luke said in 2:4: Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David
but it is not likely that Ceasar would mobilize an entire population of people in the middle of winter, which makes December 25 an unlikely date for the birth.
practical reasons as for theological ones.
The winter solstice seemed an appropriate time to celebrate Christ’s birth. Thus, the festival of the sun became a festival of the Son” (Holman Bible Dictionary, entry for Christmas)
I found this youtube who discusses this issue. I took the text above from this video.
The year of Jesus’ birth
Barbero a Italian history professor talks about the year on a youtube I have found. Eventually, activate transcript and select translate page in a translate browser extension.
Whatever the date of Jesus’ birth is, it is however nice to remember Jesus’ birthday on December 25 as it is short after winter solstice December 21. The return of the light of the Sun is a good time for meditating on the coming of the light given us by Jesus. At least for us in the northern hemisphere.
I think however that we can celebrate the return of the Sun (Agonind) as the Romans did, too. It is a way to celebrate the Creation, the Earth with its Sun.
the celebration of Santa Claus in the North is also a nice tradition but that is mainly for the small children, a way to remember old traditions and myths.
I celebrate Agonind, December 24 and the coming of Christ, December 25.