Jesus wasn’t born in December

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Friday, December 13, 2013

DECEMBER 25 is Christmas Day. It always has been, since the 4th century AD. But what doesn’t make sense is that in December, temperatures in Israel can reach as low as seven degrees Celsius, and no shepherd in his right mind would let his sheep out in cold like that.

If you can imagine the nativity with a little more snow, then that’d be approximate to what Jesus’ birth in December would’ve looked like.

Nobody knows exactly when Jesus was actually born – some historians say February or March, and others say he was born on the day of Yom Kippur.

What’s certain though, is that Jesus was not born during the freezing Israeli winter.

Even the theories surrounding the Star of Bethlehem support the idea that Jesus was not born in December. Some astronomers believe that in the year 2 BC, there was a series of conjunctions between the planets Jupiter and Venus together with a star called Regulus that formed a very bright and beautiful object in the night sky. These events happened in July, not December, so that means that the wise men were not trekking through snowfields. There is nothing to indicate that any significant astronomical events happened in December.

So why do we celebrate Christmas on December 25? Well, the early Christians believed the date of Christ’s conception to be March 25, and they simply added nine months to that date to come to the conclusion that December 25 was his date of birth. However, the Eastern Christians chose to believe that Christ’s birthday was on January 6, and some churches still maintain that belief to this day. Another theory states that December 25 was chosen because it corresponded to the Roman festival of Sol Invictus, and that doing so would ease pagan Romans into Christian conversion.

Well, it’s too late to change anything about it now. We’ve been celebrating December 25 as the date of Christ’s birth for hundreds of years now, and it wouldn’t feel right if we just changed the date on the calendar for the sake of “historical accuracy.”

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on December 13, 2013.


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