“When is the anniversary of the birth of Christ? and when is the beginning of the Jewish sacred year? Is it in December, or May, or October, or January?”
When was Christ born? The exact date cannot be known with certainty, but it is widely known that December 25 is not the true date of the birth of Christ. December 25 was selected for the observance during the fourth century to conveniently coincide with the winter solstice.
There are a number of Biblical points against the December date for Christ’s birth. First, the Bible tells us that shepherds were tending their flocks the night Jesus was born. According to history, the shepherds tended their flocks only during the lambing season, which came in the spring. Winters in Judea being cold and rainy, sheep were usually sheltered. Also, winter not being a suitable time to travel in Judea, the Emperor would not have ordered a census at that season. It was a Roman census that brought Joseph to Bethlehem.
The history of the pagan December festivals dates back to more than two thousand years before Christ was born. The winter solstice season was celebrated by Egyptians, Assyrians and Babylonians. During the days of the Roman Empire, December 25 was hailed as Brumalia, the birthday of the new sun after its long journey southward. Kindled fires and lighted candles were tokens of festivity to welcome the date. It was a time of wild license, excited happiness, revelry and unrestrained idolatry.
How did Christ’s birth come to be associated with the December festivals? In about the fourth century after Christ the December 25 celebration was “Christianized” and added to the church calendar because of its universal attraction and irrepressible popular appeal. An expanding church (soon to be the united Roman Catholic Church) wanted to worship Christ and to celebrate His birth. At the same time, they wanted to win the favor of thousands of pagan worshipers who might, with a few concessions, come into the “fold.” To limit church ranks by strict enforcement of narrow principles such as Jesus taught was unpopular. Even some of the so-called “Christians” themselves wanted to celebrate it. The Schaff- Herzog Encyclopedia explains that the celebration of the winter solstice was “too deeply entrenched in popular custom to be set aside by Christian influence. The pagan festival with its riot and merrymaking was so popular that Christians were glad of an excuse to continue its celebration with little change in spirit and in manner.”
In the Encyclopaedia Britannica we find this comment about December 25: “This was the date of a pagan festival in Rome, chosen in AD 274 by the emperor Aurelian as the birthday of the unconquered sun, which at the winter solstice begins again to show an increase of light. At some point before AD 335 the church at Rome (not the God of heaven) established the commemoration of the birthday of Christ, the sun of righteousness, on this same date.” Christ, they rationalized, was the “Sun of righteousness”—could He not be symbolized by the physical sun and connected with the sun worship festival? This was how St. Augustine justified the selection of the date: Christians, he said, should celebrate December 25 not on account of the sun or any sun god but on account of the Sun of righteousness. Even he did not claim it to be Christ’s actual birth date.
Is there anything in the Bible to support the observance of December 25? There is nothing, absolutely nothing. On the contrary, God through Paul says, “And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols?…Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty”(2 Cor. 6:16–18 NLT).
So, when was Christ born? Because the exact date cannot be known with certainty and we feel that the Bible gives ample evidence that He was born in the spring, most likely on the sacred Hebrew new year, Abib 1 (or Nisan). The members of the Megiddo Church set aside this day each year to honor Christ and remember the Hebrew new year. This year (2020) Abib 1st falls on March 24-25 (the first new moon after the Spring equinox). It is a time to praise God for another new year and to honor Jesus Christ, our soon coming King.