Tag Archives: scripture

Jesus Christ Birthday: When is it celebrated?

In Luke 2: 1-11, we read the account of Jesus’ birth. It’s a popular verse; in fact Linus reads the scripture as the true meaning of Christmas in the television special “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” But, where do we read that Jesus was born on December 25? We know that his birthday was during the census, but we aren’t given a specific date for the census. We know that Mary and Joseph were pledged to be married, but we don’t actually know the date for their marriage to backtrack and know when Christ was born. We know that the shepherds were tending their sheep in a field, but we aren’t certain as to when they arrived in Bethlehem to praise their savior.

If no one knows the actual date that Jesus was born, why do we celebrate Christmas on December 25? There are two theories, both of which have faults, one of which is more popular among theologians.

The earliest record of Christ’s birth being observed on December 25 is from the middle of the fourth century (354) on a document that listed various martyr’s feasts for the year. For the church’s first three centuries, Christmas wasn’t even on the calendar. Some church leaders were opposed to the idea of celebrating Christ’s birthday because birthdays were for pagan gods and kings. They believed it would be wrong to honor the Messiah in the same way others were honored. Other church leaders started to speculate the date of his birth because they wanted to celebrate, but soon discovered that actual records of his birth were lost, so various dates on the calendar were mentioned as days of celebrating Christ’s birth.

Jesus Christ Birthday First Theory

In the second century, the Church of Rome chose December 25 as the date of Christ’s birth to deliberately turn people away from pagan feasts being observed at the same time. Natalis solis invicti, which means the “birth of the unconquered sun” and the birthday of Mithras, the Iranian “sun of righteousness,” were both pagan feasts celebrated on what was believed to be the winter solstice. Christ was the true son and should be worshiped over all other gods. The first direct suggestion that Jesus’ birth celebration was determined to outshine pagan traditions wasn’t made until the 12th century, however there were references mentioned in various sermon accounts in the fourth and fifth centuries.

Many question this theory because Christians during the first and second century were not borrowing heavily from pagan traditions like we do today because Christians believed in a strong calling as God’s holy people. After Constantine converted to Christianity in the mid-fourth century, Christians adapted pagan festivals according to his rule.

Jesus Christ Birthday Second Theory

It is believed that the dates of Jesus’ death and his conception are linked. The connection between death and conception is an ancient and medieval understanding that salvation is bound to not only death, but also conception. The conception of Jesus binds the promise of salvation through his birth. The idea that creation and redemption are tied together is also reflected in ancient Jewish tradition.

Though, much of the New Testament provides little detail on Christ’s birth, it does provide detailed information on Jesus’ ministry, miracles, death and resurrection. March 25 is the recognized date of Christ’s crucifixion. If the date of His crucifixion and the date of his conception are indeed linked, then according to the natural cycle of birth, nine months after March 25 would be when Mary would have given birth to our savior.

Are you more concerned with actual documentation tying Jesus’ birth to December 25, are you allowing today’s “pagan” traditions to pull you away from the miracle of Christ’s birth or do you connect his birth to his death and resurrection? Christmas, whenever celebrated, is a date that marks the foundation of Christianity and Jesus deserves your honor and praise.

Cup of coffee set on sheet music

Original Christian Christmas Songs

We love Christmas music here at niNe. When Black Friday hits, we’re singing “Joy to the World” while Decking our Halls and it’s non-stop until Epiphany. We’re drawn to Christmas songs because they’re a musical depiction of Christ’s arrival to earth – one of the most miraculous (and probably not Silent) Night ever known to man. The songs are fun, sentimental and make our hearts truly contemplate the majesty of our Lord. Though many Christmas tunes are derived from the Bible, there are three actual biblical Christian Christmas songs that we want to recognize as praise to our Lord this season.

Christian Christmas Songs Mary’s Song: the Magnificat

One of the most beautiful statements in the Bible is when Mary worships her Lord upon understanding the gift she will bare:

  • My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
  • for He has looked on the humble estate of His servant.
  • For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
  • for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.
  • And His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
  • He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
  • He has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate;
  • He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty.
  • He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy,
  • as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His offspring forever.

Luke 1:46-55

Glory to God as Christian Christmas Songs

An angel appeared to the shepherds announcing the birth of the savior. Then, suddenly there was a multitude of heavenly hosts praising God.

  • Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!

Luke 2:14

For Unto Us a Child Is Born is Christian Christmas Songs

Before Jesus was born, His presence here on earth was understood through the words of the prophet Isaiah.

  • The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.
  • You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
  • For the yoke of His burden, and the staff for His shoulder, the rod of His oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.
  • For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire.
  • For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
  • Of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

Isaiah 9: 3-7

Now, go spend the Christmas season with your family or friends and enjoy a deeper realization of Christ’s arrival and magnificences.