“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register, along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. And it came about that while they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her first-born son…” Luke 2:4-7a (NAS) Part two
Last week we provided the information from the Scripture that demonstrated what time of the year Jesus would have been born (September/October).
If you missed that article, you can find the information at the website, newcreation.us. As an aside, it appears that John the Immerser, who was six months older than Jesus, was born in the month of Nisan (March/April). This was another month with three holy convocations (Passover on the 14th, Unleavened Bread 15th-21st, and Firstfruits the 16th) like the month of Sivan. There are those who would claim John was born during the Feast of Unleavened Bread although John’s birth is just as difficult to ascertain as was Jesus’. The important thing to remember is Scripture makes certain we know the day Jesus died, the day of His resurrection, and most importantly, His ascension to the throne in glory. Now back to the question of how did December 25th become the day that the religious world recognizes as Jesus’ day of birth in the flesh. The tradition of Observing December 25th as Christ’s birth began in earnest in the later fourth century A.D. by the Roman Catholic church. Sometime in the fifth century A.D., the Roman Church ordered the birth of Jesus to be forever observed on December 25th. The Roman Church made this decree as a means of salving over the prickly problem of many pagans who had “converted” to Christianity (by power of the Roman Empire’s earlier declaration that “Christianity” was the official religion of the realm) still celebrating the Roman pagan festival of Saturnalia. This festival ran from December 17th through the 24th, honoring Saturn, the god of agriculture, then was followed by the Sol Invictus (Invincible Sun) on December 25th. How this date came to be celebrated among the Romans had to do with the Julian Calendar. In 46BC when the Julian calendar was adopted, the shortest day of the year was December 24th. Therefore, December 25th was the first day that daylight began to increase. You can see now how the birthday of the invincible sun came to be. Much “merrymaking” (read here drinking, gluttony, orgies, etc) occurred during these festivals. The Roman church’s blending of Saturnalia with Christ’s birth was an attempt to tamp down the excesses while allowing the people to celebrate some of their heritage and culture. Many of our modern traditions surrounding the Christmas season were inherited from the festival of Saturnalia where gifts were given, colored lights were placed (to ward off evil spirits) and trees were decorated. Reaching all the way back to the Chaldeans in the land of Shinar (Babylon), December 25th has always been “the day” in sun worship. “Yule” is believed to be a Chaldean name for “infant” or “little child.” In ancient Babylon, the 25th of December was known as Yule day or the birth of the promised child day. This was the day of the birth of the incarnate sun, who appeared as a baby child to redeem a world bound in darkness. The origin of the naming of Baal, the chief god (also the sun god) of the Babylonian polytheistic system, is an interesting story. The Phoenicians gave the name Baal to their sun god in honor of the Egyptian king Osiris. Osiris was the husband of queen Isis. When he died, she propagated a doctrine that Osiris would continue to survive as a spirit and claimed a full grown evergreen tree sprang up overnight from a dead stump symbolizing Osiris’ new life. Since his birthday was December 25th by today’s calendar, Isis would leave gifts around an evergreen tree each year on this date. Brethren, we can see pagan roots all over in the selection of this date. However, let’s be grateful people are speaking Jesus Christ’s name this time of year without it being used as a curse word, which is all too normal anymore. Praise God that we do have the true “Invincible Son.” The one who offered Himself unto death in our stead, rose from the grave, appeared to men proving His power, ascended to the throne in heaven, and made purification of our sins by His blood. That was the ultimate purpose of Him being born in the flesh. Amen?