2019/12/25

Today in the City of David

Christ the Savior is born!

The Nativity

And I boldly affirm that today, December 25, really is the date of Jesus' birth.

Zechariah was in the priestly course of Abijah. Thus he served in the temple in the 8th and 32nd week of the year.

Luke's Gospel has him serving on the Day of Atonement (at the end of September) and conceiving John the Baptist right when he got home.

This places John's birth in late June.

The Catholic Church has traditionally celebrated the Nativity of John the Baptist on June 24, which fits Luke's time line perfectly.

The Protoevangelium of James flat out confirms St. John's late September conception. Sure, it's apocryphal, but that doesn't disqualify it as a source of historical data.

Luke clearly states that Jesus was conceived when Elizabeth was six months pregnant with John.

Scriptural, traditional, and historical evidence place John's birth in late June. Adding 6 months puts Jesus' birth in late December.

This is nothing new, either. The Church Fathers knew the evidence & reached the same conclusion.

St. John Chrysostom preached his famous Christmas Morning Homily on December 25, 388.

St. Hippolytus, who died in AD 235, wrote, "The first advent of Our Lord in the flesh occurred when He was born in Bethlehem on December 25."

But the tradition goes back even further than that!

St. Theophilus, d. AD 181, wrote, "We ought to celebrate the birthday of Our Lord on what day soever the 25th of December shall happen."

There you have it. The Bible, eyewitnesses to Jesus' ministry who knew and loved Him--including His mother--and His Apostles' early successors, give strong testimony that Jesus really was born on December 25.

There are really only 3 objections to affirming December 25 as the actual date of Christ's birth. I'll answer them in turn.

Objection 1: Luke has shepherds tending their sheep on the night of Jesus' birth, but shepherds don't graze their flocks in winter.

Answer: Bethlehem has a similar climate to Houston. You'll find sheep out in the pasture in both places year-round.

Objection 2: The Church "baptized" Saturnalia, an ancient Roman feast, by setting the celebration of Christmas to the same date.

Answer: Saturnalia was held on the Winter Solstice, between December 17 and 23. The dates simply don't match. Close only counts in horseshoes & hand grenades.

Objection 2: OK, if not Saturnalia, then Sol Invictus.

Answer: The Emperor Aurelian did decree the feast of Sol Invictus in 274, prior to the first documented celebration of Christmas on December 25, 336. But there's no record of Sol Invictus' celebration on December 25 until 354, when Julian the Apostate moved it in the original War on Christmas.

TL; DR: Scripture, tradition, & history attest to December 25 as Christ's actual birthday. Pagans got nothin'. Merry Christmas!

Looking for fun adventure fiction by an author who doesn't hate Christians? Look no further!

Combat Frame XSeed: CY 40 Second Coming

14 comments:

  1. Thanks for bringing the discussion and evidence you presented on Twitter to your blog.

    Merry Christmas!

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    Replies
    1. No problem. It was way easier than composing a post from scratch ;)

      Merry Christmas!

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  2. Merry Christmas!

    May God bless and keep you.

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  3. I can testify to the temperate Christmastide weather in Texas-esque climates. It's nothing like Christmas in New England. I ran up to my folks place in the hill country from our place outside Houston to deliver their Christmas presents, because we couldn't go up to stay, as planned. I passed lots of stock in the pastures, including longhorn cattle, donkeys, and goats. I needed the A/C, on the 23d of December.

    Thanks for this information. I hadn't realized we could place Zechariah's Temple service on the calendar, or that it coincided with Yom Kippur.

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    1. My pleasure. Josephus tells us that the first priestly course was on duty when the temple was destroyed. We can calculate the times of Zechariah's service from that.

      Thanks for the firsthand testimony!

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    2. You are welcome. If the Holy Family travelled in weather like this, that weather was the least of their worries, I daresay. I would want a fire at night, a good hat, and plenty of water, but hoofing it a hundred miles in 60 degree weather might be pleasant and refreshing if it weren't also urgent and didn't involve the Holy Mother being days away from delivering Our Lord into the world. That had to have been extremely uncomfortable. Blessed is she among women.

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  4. Brian and friends

    Merry Christmas and happy St Stephan's day to all!
    May Christmas continue to bring joy and happiness.and the New Year bring more joy and success.

    xavier

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  5. Well, that was really helpful. Thank you!



    The five and twentieth of December,
    Good cause have you for to remember,
    In Bethlehem upon this morn
    There was our blessed Saviour born

    ®For to redeem our souls from thrall
    Christ is the Savior of us all.

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