The Birth of Jesus

(Luke 2:1-8)

Here we see the birth of Jesus described and it provides further evidence of his lineage and descent from David the King. At the time of his birth the emperor of Rome, Caesar Augustus, sent out an order for all the peoples of the Roman Empire to be enrolled. That is he was taking a census of the people.

Birth of JesusNow under the requirements of the decree for this census, all the people had to go to their own cities. This is why Joseph left Nazareth and went to Bethlehem, the city of David the King with Mary his betrothed who was with child. Although they sought lodging, there was none to be had on account of the census and the number of people who had flocked to the cities. The only place they could find to rest was in a stable behind an inn.

It was at this time that Jesus was born and he was wrapped in swaddling cloth and lain in a manger, that is a feed trough for the horses and other animals. In this humble way the Saviour of the world began his life on earth.

It is evident from the evidence of the narrative of Luke that Jesus was not born on the 25th December as is commonly thought. The fact that shepherds were in the fields with their flocks at night is a clear indicator that Jesus was born on some other date. December in Bethlehem is a cold month with frequent frosts and sometimes snow. The shepherds would stay in the fields at night only during the warmer months.

Many people have done a deal of study on this matter and you can see some good references on this at this link.

Now this raises an interesting question. Is it important to know the date of Jesus’ birth? Given that it is such a huge, world-wide celebration at Christmas, isn’t this important to get right?

No it isn’t. while the birth of Jesus was a reason for great joy as the Saviour had come into the world, the important time to establish was his death. It was through Jesus death that we received salvation for it was in his death that he won the victory over sin for us and it is through entering into his death that we are set free from bondage to sin and the law. Jesus of course could not be held by death and establishing his resurrection is of paramount importance, but his birth is not as important in relation to salvation of the world.

The date 25 December was actually “borrowed” from one of the pagan festivals and used as an opportunity to bring people to Christianity. However it was shown that when sections of the church attempted to merge some of the pagan processes, festivals and practices, the pagans would continue to follow their own gods and forms of worship. The net effect was they were polluting Christianity and moving Christians away from the truth.

(Picture sourced from

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