It is obvious from studying the Bible that, though man is somewhat obsessed with the exact date of Jesus’ birth, God is not. Nowhere in Scripture are we given a date to celebrate the birth of the most important human being ever born. If the date was important to God, why did He withhold it from His disciples? Therefore we must assume that we are not to set aside a particular date and make it special. Though the exact date of Christ’s birth is not known, there are a few Biblical hints provided for those who are interested in the subject.
One compelling indication that Jesus was not born in mid-winter is that the shepherds were still in the fields with their sheep night and day when Jesus was born (Lk. 2:8). Angels appeared to them and told them that the Messiah had arrived. It is a known historical fact that shepherds took their sheep into the desert during the middle of spring around the time when the Passover was (and still is) celebrated. Passover falls in late March-early April. Shepherds took their sheep to the desert at that time and kept them there until the fall rains began in late September-early October.
Another historical reality concerned the fact that Joseph and Mary had to spend the night in an animal shelter while registering to pay their taxes. This was an annual occurrence that took place during the fall of the year. Jerusalem and the surrounding areas became crowded as people traveled to Jerusalem to pay their taxes as well as to celebrate the fall Holy Days which followed the fall harvest season. These autumn festivals took place in the seventh month of the sacred year (Lev. 23) which corresponded with our September-October. Luke 2:41 and John 7:1-10 show that it was the custom for Jesus’ parents to travel from Nazareth to Jerusalem to celebrate these annual Holy Days.
Historically, Middle-eastern winters were more severe in those days than they are today. Beginning in late September at the beginning of the rainy season, shepherds would move their sheep back home to prepare for winter when grazing was not possible. It was not unusual for snow to cover the land for long periods of time. For this reason they were kept in shelters from mid-fall to mid-spring when grass would again appear. Recall that shepherds were still in the fields at the time of Christ’s birth. It is an historical fact that shepherds stayed in the fields at night with their sheep (Lk. 2:8). They would stay out with them for long periods of time. Recall that Jacob sent Joseph to check on his older brothers who had been with the family sheep night and day in a distant area for an extended period of time. Joseph had to find them because shepherds had to herd the sheep to wherever grass could be found.
These are a few convincing proofs that Jesus was born sometime in the early autumn, not in the middle of winter. The celebration surrounding Christmas is heathen in origin and, when carried out in reference to the birth of Jesus, heathenizes those who participate in it. God’s Very Elect do not participate in Christmas in that it honors a heathen god. Recall that the “ways of the heathen” are an abomination to the Lord. God’s people also do not celebrate New Years, St. Valentine’s Day and Easter for the same reason–THEY ARE PAGAN HOLIDAYS DESIGNED TO HONOR PAGAN GODS. True Christians have nothing to do with them. L.J.