Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Was Jesus Born on the 25th of December?

Long thought to be sacrosanct, but is there sufficient proof to prove that Jesus Christ was born on the 25th of December, the well-accepted day of the Western Christian Christmas?

By: Vanessa Uy

To believers and non-believers alike, very few would question the fact that Jesus’ birth falls on the 25th of December, unless they want to open themselves to ridicule. But research studies conducted over the years suggest that the widely accepted day of Jesus’ birth – the 25th of December – which proves that surprisingly, only has a tenuous basis in reality. And there is strong evidence that what we accept today as Christmas Day, was arbitrarily selected in the name of “scheduling expediency”.

The 25th of December date of Christmas – according to very early Roman Catholic Church documents – became widely accepted by Western Christianity only when after the first “Christ-Mass” was officiated by Pope Sixtus III. Probably as an expedient way to replace the former pagan Roman gods’ feast days since December 25 was the feast day of the Roman Sun god. As documented by the early Roman Catholic writer Mario Righetti in order to speedily “facilitate the acceptance of the Christian faith by the pagan masses” majority of which are either Roman or of Persian ethnicity.

The written gospels of former disciples of Jesus also cast doubts about Christ’s date of birth falling on the 25th of December. In Luke chapter 2 verse 8 notes that the birth of Jesus coincided with the Roman census. This administrative survey of the Roman Empire’s annexed territories was conveniently timed after harvest season usually between September and October around the Mediterranean Region and Sinai Peninsula. The reason for this is that as winter season sets in during the month of December, roads in this region becomes so muddy and impassible that people prefer to stay indoors rather than travel. Which might serve as a proof that Jesus was born no later than October since Joseph and Mary journeyed into Roman administered Bethlehem in compliance with Augustus Caesar’s decree of Roman census.

If hard scientific facts are considered, Israeli meteorologists had known for sometime that the month of December couldn’t had been the month of Jesus’ birth. Since given that the climatic conditions of the area around the Sinai Peninsula remained more or less constant for the last 2,000 years. It would had been a very difficult month to for travelling since the primitive roads of the time would have been rendered impassible via assorted winter-season precipitation like freezing rain, hail, or even snow. Plus the shepherds portrayed in the widely accepted accounts of the nativity scene only could have happened no later than the month of October.

Given that the now well-accepted 25th of December being set-aside as the birth of Jesus, it's only fair to ask if this was done only out of sociological-political expediency, rather than the date having true holy significance. But since most Western / Christian countries lie near the Arctic Circle, the coincidence of convenience and / or political expediency of choosing the 25th of December as the birth of Jesus does have it’s obvious advantages. Since Christmas has traditionally become the season of giving, the needy of the geographic high-latitudes had now less chances of dying in the cold since their more affluent brethren are now freely providing them their basic needs. Even other faiths falling under the classification of Abrahamic Theology have major feast days that seem to coincide near the 25th of December. Convenience or not, a 25th of December Christmas seems to benefit a wide spectrum of adherents – from the spiritual to the commercial.

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