December 1, 2022 @ 8:00 AM

You’ve heard it and so have I. “Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th. That’s simply Catholic tradition or the celebration of a Druid festival.” I don’t agree. The December 25th date for Christ’s birth is not a date arbitrarily chosen because it coincides with a Catholic or pagan tradition. There are solid grounds for believing that the church venerated that date for good reason. Jesus Christ was actually born in Bethlehem of Judea on the 25th of December.

You ask, “Okay, Irv, what are your grounds for believing that?” Let me share them with you. Probably no one has given more thought to the date of Christ’s birth than Alfred Edersheim. Alfred Edersheim (March 7, 1825 – March 16, 1889) was born in Vienna; a Jewish convert to Christianity and a Biblical scholar. He was ordained to ministry in the Presbyterian Church in Scotland in 1846; to ministry in the Church of England in 1875; and became a faculty member at Oxford in 1882. He wrote over 90 books and had great insights regarding the birth of Jesus from a Hebrew-Christian perspective.  In his classic work, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah in Appendix vii. “On the Date of the Nativity of Our Lord,” Dr. Edersheim wrote  

At the outset it must be admitted, that absolute certainty is impossible as to the exact date of Christ's Nativity - the precise year even, and still more the month and the day. But in regard to the year, we possess such data as to invest it with such probability, as almost to amount to certainty.

The first and most certain date is that of the death of Herod the Great. Our Lord was born before the death of Herod, and, as we judge from the Gospel-history, very shortly before that event. Now the year of Herod's death has been ascertained with, we may say, absolute certainty, as shortly before the Passover of the year 750 A.U.C., which corresponds to about the 12th of April of the year 4 before Christ, according to our common reckoning. More particularly, shortly before the death of Herod there was a lunar eclipse (Jos. Ant. xvii.6.4), which, it is astronomically ascertained, occurred on the night from the 12th to the 13th of March of the year 4 before Christ. Thus the death of Herod must have taken place between the 12th of March and the 12th of April - or, say, about the end of March (comp. Ant. xvii.8.1). Again, the Gospel-history necessitates an interval of, at the least, seven or eight weeks before that date for the birth of Christ (we have to insert the purification of the Virgin - at the earliest, six weeks after the Birth - The Visit of the Magi, and the murder of the children at Bethlehem, and, at any rate, some days more before the death of Herod). Thus the Birth of Christ could not have possibly occurred after the beginning of February 4 b.c., and most likely several weeks earlier. This brings us close to the ecclesiastical date, the 25th of December, in confirmation of which we refer to what has been stated in vol. i. p.187, see especially note 3. At any rate, the often repeated, but very superficial objection, as to the impossibility of shepherds tending flocks in the open at that season, must now be dismissed as utterly untenable, not only for the reasons stated in vol. i. p.187, but even for this, that if the question is to be decided on the ground of rain-fall, the probabilities are in favour of December as compared with February - later than which it is impossible to place the birth of Christ.

There is no adequate reason for questioning the historical accuracy of this date [December 25th]. The objections generally made rest on grounds, which seem to me historically untenable” (pg. 187, footnote).

For Edersheim’s complete article on the date of Christ’s birth, please go to: I'm siding with Alfred. Christ Jesus was born on December 25th.  Naysayers spout objections which are easily answered, something Dr. Edersheim does in his article. 

Merry Christmas,