Ask the Pastor 39a
Was the Lord Jesus really born in the winter?
For many people this is a very important question because it relates to a pagan holiday which was celebrated on or around December 21 or 22 known as the winter Solstice. In many cultures this is a time of celebration, festivals etc. celebrating the death and rebirth of the Sun. In ancient Rome it was the time of celebrating Saturn and the Germanic people celebrated the Yule (son) feast. Many feel that to celebrate the birth of our Lord during this time was to help build relations with the pagan people and demonstrate how the light of the world has come in the person of our Lord Jesus, and from that point going forward there would be more light each day. There are many theologians (including myself) who argue that shepherds would not be in the fields in the middle of winter and that no ruler would require people to travel during that time of year to be registered. The first mention of December 25 as the birth of our Lord was in a book by Hypolytus of Rome in the 3rd century. He calculated that our Lord was conceived on March 25 and 9 months later would make His birth on December 25. His calculations are based upon the fact that our Lord was crucified in the Spring and therefore His entry into this world would have been in the Spring. This was picked up by the Bishop of Rome and therefore, Christmas was celebrated on that date from the 3rd or 4th century going forward. The real point here is that the Bible does not say what year or what time of year our Lord was born, only that He was. That is the point of our celebration that God became man (Philippians 2:5-11) and humbled Himself unto the death of the cross, was raised from the dead and is now exalted to the place where one day every knee will bow to Him. The question left for us is why not bow to Him today and not wait until it is too late?
Have questions about the Bible?Send them to Dr. Greg Koehn at email@example.com and read the answer here in this article.