Friday, December 19, 2014

Is Christmas Christian?

An interesting article from about Christmas. This follows this post about Cuba. For a free magazine subscription or to get the books recommended for free click HERE! or call 1-888-886- 8632.
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Is Christmas Christian?

Have you ever considered if Jesus Christ was actually born on December 25?

Whether they call themselves "Christians" or not, most people who celebrate Christmas and exchange presents on that day think the day honors the birth of Jesus Christ and the giving of gifts to the Christ child by the three wise men. They think the holiday originates in the Bible and is taken directly from the scriptures. Many of us were reared with that belief, but some people might be quite surprised to find out the real truth of the matter.

The whole story

We need to ask ourselves what December 25 really pictures. Is it truly the anniversary of the birth of Christ as the world supposes or does it picture something else? Let’s go to God’s word to hear the truth. In order to understand the full story though, we need to go back to a time more than a year before Jesus’ birth as shown in the first chapter of the book of Luke.
We read, “There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth” (Luke:1:5).
Zacharias was of the priestly line of the sons of Aaron. As a priest, he served in the temple during the year. There were so many priests, however, that there were too many to serve in the temple all the time. Because of that, King David split the priestly service assignments were into 24 groups or divisions (1 Chronicles:24:3-4).
The actual choosing of the divisions was made through an appeal to God by casting lots with the eighth lot assigned to Abijah (1 Chronicles:24:5, 1 Chronicles:24:10).
During the year, the priests comprising each division served in the temple for a period of two weeks: one week in the first half of the year and one week in the second half of the year. In addition, all priests served for one week at each of the three holy day times throughout the year.
While Zacharias was doing his priestly duties in the temple, he was visited by an angel with a message. In Luke:1:11-13, we read “Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.’”
Skipping down to Luke:1:23-24: “So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house. Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months…”
If you were to count off the weeks, you would find that there were three divisions of the sons of Aaron who served as priests during the three weeks of the first month, Abib; then there were four more who served during the second month, Iyar; then the eighth division of Abijah served during the first week of the third month of Sivan, which equates to our late May and June. So Zacharias would have returned to his home in probably early to mid-June and Elizabeth would have become pregnant shortly thereafter.
We saw that for five months Elizabeth hid herself. That would bring us up to about mid-November. The account continues in the next verse and tells us that in Elizabeth’s sixth month, or probably about early December, the angel Gabriel brought news. We read, “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!’ But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.…Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.’…Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah,and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit….And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house (Luke:1:26-33, Luke:1:36, Luke:1:39, Luke:1:56).

The birth of Christ

As we follow the clear chronology specified in the scriptures, it is very easy to see that John the Baptist was, most likely, born about the time of Passover in mid- to late March. We also read that Mary had stayed with Elizabeth for three months from the time of Gabriel's announcement of Mary's conception of Jesus. Therefore, if Mary had about six months left to go in her pregnancy, it’s reasonable to conclude that Jesus was born roughly six months after John the Baptist.
Admittedly, we’ve made some assumptions in our chronology and might be off by a week or two but we cannot be off by much. It’s clear to see from the sequence of events that Jesus was not born in late December. But that is not the only evidence from scripture.
Let’s continue reading in the second chapter of Luke, “And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the entire world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke:2:1-8).
The Book of Ezra gives us a report on what the weather was like in Israel in the ninth month, Chislev, which equates to late November/early December: “But there are many people; it is the season for heavy rain, and we are not able to stand outside…” (Ezra:10:13).
Even current weather data show that the month of December in Israel is during the rainy or even snowy season with average nighttime temperatures slightly below freezing. Remember that the emperor in Rome had called for a census to be taken of "the entire world" (which means throughout his whole empire) as we read in verse one. Remember also that the Roman Empire reached all the way from the British Isles in the west to Persia in the east and from northern Africa in the south to almost Germany in the north. It was an empire that went from sea level of the Mediterranean to the snow-capped mountains of northern Italy and France. Surely, if it was cold and rainy or possibly snowy in December in Bethlehem, there would be many parts of the empire where it would have been colder and snowier with travel even more impassable. Does it make sense that the emperor would call for an empire-wide census at a time of year when travel was so difficult? Don’t forget, Christ’s birth was at a time of year when the shepherds were still in the fields keeping watch over their sheep at night.
As we can see all the pieces to the puzzle don’t fit for a December birth of Christ? Let’s see what other authorities have to say on the subject. In Adam Clarke’s Commentary, we can read "as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and that, consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields; nor could He have been born later than September, as the flocks were still in the fields by night. On this very ground the nativity in December should be given up” ( Adam Clarke’s Commentary , note on Luke:2:8).
Yet, despite acknowledging that Christ was not born in December, some still see keeping Christmas as a way to celebrate His birth even if it wasn’t on that day. I encourage you to look into the pagan origins of December 25 as a holiday by requesting our free study aid Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe?

God’s perspective

Is it pleasing to God to have old festivals celebrating worship of pagan gods renamed in honor of God or of His son, Jesus Christ? Jeremiah:10:2-4 shows us just what God thinks when we adopt the ways of the Gentiles in preference to His ways: “Thus says the Lord: ‘Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles are dismayed at them. For the customs of the peoples are futile; for one cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not topple.’”
Remember God’s second commandment and who we really should worship (Exodus:20:4-6). That is our duty – to show God that we love Him by doing His will by keeping His commandments daily.
So, the question for anyone who keeps Christmas is this: By your actions, who do you show God you are really worshipping on December 25?
To learn more about what holy days God has designed us to keep, read our free study aid God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind .

The New York Times; Unrepentant Communist Enabler

A timely post about from about the New York Times and Cuba. This follows this post  about impeachment.
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The New York Times; Unrepentant Communist Enabler

Humberto Fontova | Oct 20, 2014
Humberto Fontova

This week the New York Times ran two editorials pleading for a U.S. economic lifeline to the Castro brothers’ terror-sponsoring regime (i.e. to end the so-called embargo.) One editorial ran on Sunday the other on Tuesday. The second editorial contains the following:
“Fidel Castro…has largely vanished from public view in Cuba. But the 88-year-old former president (italics mine) has not altogether abandoned the business of telling Cubans what to think.”
Is the Times --at long last!--acknowledging a totalitarian streak in the longest-reigning Stalinist dictator of modern history? Sure sounds like it. Now please pay close attention as the editorial continues:
“On Tuesday, Mr. Castro dedicated a column to an editorial published in The (New York) Times on Sunday that called on the Obama administration to restore diplomatic ties with the Cuban government and end the counterproductive (italics mine) embargo the United States has imposed on the island for decades. His take was remarkable for one main reason…quoting nearly every paragraph in the (our) editorial…Hosts of Cuban state-run radio stations (also) read Mr. Castro’s column and discussed its content…”
In brief: so closely did the New York Times echo the sentiments of a Stalinist dictator that he gleefully ordered their article disseminated—almost word for word-- throughout his regime’s KGB-founded and mentored media. It gets better:
“He (Fidel Castro) appeared to endorse the thrust of the editorial,” The second NY Times editorial boasts, “comparing it to an interview he gave in 1957 as a young rebel leader to a (New York) Times foreign correspondent at the time, Herbert Matthews…”
In April of 1959--amidst an appalling bloodbath of Cubans by firing squad ordered by Fidel Castro but mostly administered by his ever-faithful Igor, Che Guevara--Castro made a special visit to the New York Times offices in New York. After a warm greeting from Arthur Hayes Sulzberger a beaming Fidel Castro personally decorated a beaming Herbert Matthews with a specially-minted medal expressing his bloody regime’s highest honor.
“To our American friend Herbert Matthews with gratitude,” beamed Castro as the flashbulbs popped. “Without your help, and without the help of the New York Times, the Revolution in Cuba would never have been.”
“Fidel Castro has strong ideas of liberty, democracy and social justice,” Matthews had written on the front pages of (at the time) the world’s most prestigious newspaper in February 1957. “But it amounts to a new deal for Cuba, radical, democratic, and therefore anti-communist.”
Herbert Matthews double-downed a few months later: “This is not a Communist revolution in any sense of the term. Fidel Castro is not only not a Communist, he is decidedly anti-Communist.” (Herbert Matthews, the New York Times, July 1959.)
Reasonable people might ask: has any tiny little thing transpired in the intervening half-century that might cause the New York Times to regret their enabling of Fidel Castro?
But reasonable people will search in utter vain for any hint of such regret, especially in light of this week’s editorials which –if anything--double-down on the New York Times historical fondness for the Castro regime.
Through their unrivaled (at the time) public relations cachet’ and their heavy influence with their ideological cohorts and cronies in the CIA and U.S. State Department the New York Times. enabled into power a regime that:
*Jailed and tortured political prisoners at a higher rate than Stalin’s during the Great Terror.
*Murdered more Cubans than Hitler’s murdered Germans during the Night of Long Knives.
* In the above process converted a nation with a higher per-capita income than half of Europe into one that repulses Haitians.
* Wantonly brought the world within a whisker of nuclear war.
Over fifty times as many Cubans have died (and horribly) while attempting to flee Castro’s Cuba as Germans died trying to flee East Germany. And prior to Castroism Cuba welcomed more immigrants per-capita (primarily from Europe) than did the U.S.
And remember, the New York Times like all anti-embargo propagandists (Chamber of Commerce, Hillary Clinton, Brookings Inst., CATO Inst., etc.) advocate against the so-called embargo (in fact, the flow of cash and visitors from the U.S. to Cuba during the Obama administration exceeds the flow in the 1950’s) by claiming Castro secretly favors it. The embargo-- the intellectual eggheads wink and snicker at us knuckle-draggers-- gives Castro a foil for his economic failures and an excuse to keep the clamps on. “Don’t you blockheads understand?”.
We’re greatly impressed with your erudition and powers of ratiocination and especially the nasal tone of its expression, Think-Tank eggheads. But first off, if Castro “secretly favors the embargo,” then why did every one of his secret agents campaign secretly and obsessively against the embargo while working as secret agents? Castro managed the deepest and most damaging penetration of the U.S. Department of Defense in recent U.S. history. The spy’s name is Ana Belen Montes, known as "Castro’s Queen Jewel" in the intelligence community. In 2002 she was convicted of the same crimes as Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and today she serves a 25-year sentence in Federal prison. Only a plea bargain spared her from sizzling in the electric chair like the Rosenberg’s.
Prior to her visit from the FBI and handcuffing, Ana Belen Montes worked tirelessly to influence U.S. foreign policy against the embargo. The same holds for more recently arrested, convicted and incarcerated Cuban spies Carlos and Elsa Alvarez and Kendall and Gwendolyn Myers. All of these worked tirelessly to influence U.S. policy against the "embargo"-- while working as secret agents.
In brief, the “reasoning” against the so-called embargo by people who fancy themselves intellectuals calls for Rod Serling introducing a Twilight Zone episode:
"Imagine if you will...a place where every "prestigious" Think-Tank (from Brookings to CATO) and every "prestigious" publication (from the New York Times to The Atlantic) denounces the Cuba "embargo" as "Castro's best-friend, a policy he secretly favors"--even when every one of Castro’s convicted secret agents campaigned secretly and obsessively against the embargo while working as secret agents. On top of that, the KGB-mentored media of Castro's totalitarian regime makes it a point to reprint every "end-the-embargo" article ever printed in the world, especially those by the New York Times...
Imagine if you will...a place where the institutions that call the embargo "Castro's Best-Friend" still manage to be known as Think-Tanks.”
Fidel Castro Votes In Cuba's Elections
Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro voted in the country's parliamentary elections, his first public appearance in months, Cuba's state media reported Monday.
CBS Miami
Fidel Castro Votes In Cuba's Elections
Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro voted in the country's parliamentary elections, his first public appearance in months, Cuba's state media reported Monday.
CBS Miami

Thursday, December 18, 2014

World News and Trends: Fidel Castro's regime eroding?

An interesting article from about Cuba. This follows this post about the plans for a global caliphate. This follows this post about the birth of Jesus. This follows this post about the movie Exodus: Gods and Kings. For a free magazine subscription or to get the books recommended for free click HERE! or call 1-888-886- 8632.
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World News and Trends: Fidel Castro's regime eroding?

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Cuban President Fidel Castro temporarily ceded power recently to his brother, Raul, when he was hospitalized for surgery. Either President Castro is dying or he is testing the Cuban people to see how well the communist politburo is ensconced.

Cuban President Fidel Castro temporarily ceded power recently to his brother, Raul, when he was hospitalized for surgery. Either President Castro is dying or he is testing the Cuban people to see how well the communist politburo is ensconced. Raul Castro is faithful to his brother Fidel, but most political watchers say he doesn't possess the charisma that Fidel has. That can spell a big difference.
Fidel has ruled Cuba for a surprising 47 years, a long tenure for any leader. The U.S. naval blockade of Soviet ships bringing war munitions to Cuba in the 1960s dampened his brash international threats. His government suffered greatly with the Soviet collapse. Riots followed this signal event.
Are we seeing the end of Fidel's regime and the possibility of a more democratic form of Cuban government? Exiled Cubans in Miami hope so. They have family ties in Cuba and a love for their native land. Cuba would benefit greatly from a free society, both in tourism, fishing, sugar, tobacco and rum, as well citrus, cocoa and nickel.
Equally, the United States would benefit internally and externally, and there would be one less government threatening it.

Sen. John Barrasso: Opposed Obama's Amnesty Before Voting For It

An interesting article from about a GOP member who voted FOR amnesty. This follows this post on HOW amnesty is funded in ways other than the DHS. Remember, “Amnesty” means ANY non-enforcement of existing immigration laws! This follows this comment and this post about how to Report Illegal Immigrants! Also, you can read two very interesting books HERE.
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Sen. John Barrasso: Opposed Obama's Amnesty Before Voting For It

Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) voted to fund President Obama's executive amnesty during the lame-duck session contrary to his earlier statements. He was one of several Senators who had come out against the president's actions, but then voted much differently.
These Senators, including Senator Barrasso had an opportunity to back up their rhetoric with action when Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) raised a "point of order" challenging the constitutionality of the president's executive action while the Senate debated the 2015 spending bill.
While 21 other Senators stood up and voted with Senator Cruz, 28 Senators who had previously come out against executive amnesty voted in favor of fully funding it.
After the president's announcement, Senator Barrasso released the following statement:
President Obama’s announcement on executive amnesty flies in the face of his promises to follow the law, deliver ‘fairness’ and help jobless Americans. His reckless and unlawful decision makes it even harder for Washington to solve our immigration challenges.
In the aftermath of the President’s decision to ignore Americans, Congress will act. We are listening to Americans – and we will stand up for them.
For a full list of U.S. Senators who voted for and against the Senator Cruz's point of order, see the roll call vote.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

20-Year Plan for a Global Caliphate

An interesting article from about the plans for a global caliphate. This follows this post about the birth of Jesus. This follows this post about the movie Exodus: Gods and Kings. For a free magazine subscription or to get the books recommended for free click HERE! or call 1-888-886- 8632.
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20-Year Plan for a Global Caliphate

It's remarkable to see what's been happening in the world in light of the al-Qaeda master plan from back in 2000 for establishing a world-dominating Islamic caliphate in seven steps over the course of 20 years.

In a driving conquest ISIS has taken over sizable parts of Syria and Iraq, sweeping through in a brutal blitzkrieg.

Source: Shaun Venish
This plan was revealed to the world in 2005 by Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein in his book Al-Zarqawi: al-Qaida's Second Generation. He had spent time in prison with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (who went on to head up al-Qaeda in Iraq before his death in a U.S. bombing strike) and interviewed a wide range of al-Qaeda members.
The plan was questioned and belittled at the time, but the timeline has continued on track in various respects despite setbacks for al-Qaeda and other Islamists over the years.
Here are the steps as reported in a Der Spiegel article dated Aug. 12, 2005 (Yassin Musharbash, "The Future of Terrorism: What al-Qaida Really Wants"):
"The First Phase . . . 'The awakening' . . . supposed to have lasted from 2000 to 2003, or more precisely from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 . . . The aim of the attacks of 9/11 was to provoke the US into declaring war on the Islamic world and thereby 'awakening' Muslims . . . '. . . judged . . . as very successful . . . The Americans and their allies became a closer and easier target.'"
"The Second Phase 'Opening Eyes' . . . [2003] until 2006 [the period this report came out] . . . [making the West] aware of the 'Islamic community' . . . [and] recruiting young men during this period. Iraq [was to then] become the center for all global operations, with an 'army' set up there and bases established in other Arabic states."
"The Third Phase . . . 'Arising and Standing Up' . . . from 2007 to 2010 [which was yet future when this was written]. 'There will be a focus on Syria' . . . The fighting cadres are supposedly already prepared and some are in Iraq. Attacks on Turkey and . . . in Israel are predicted . . . Countries neighboring Iraq, such as Jordan, are also in danger." ( The focus on Syria should be noted, though it did not become a great rallying point until the Arab Spring came at the end of this period. )
"The Fourth Phase Between 2010 and 2013 . . . al-Qaida will aim to bring about the collapse of the hated Arabic governments . . . '. . . lead[ing] to a steady growth in strength within al-Qaida' . . . [And] attacks will be carried out against oil suppliers and the US economy will be targeted using cyber terrorism." ( Consider that the Arab Spring uprisings against various despots occurred in 2011-2012 .)
"The Fifth Phase This will be the point at which an Islamic state, or caliphate, can be declared. The plan is that by this time, between 2013 and 2016, Western influence in the Islamic world will be so reduced and Israel weakened so much, that resistance will not be feared. Al-Qaida hopes that by then the Islamic state will be able to bring about a new world order." ( This is when a caliphate was declared, in 2014. The al-Qaeda old guard sees this as premature but still has a window of a few years. )
The Sixth Phase . . . From 2016 onwards there will [be] a period of 'total confrontation.' As soon as the caliphate has been declared, the 'Islamic army' . . . will instigate the 'fight between the believers and the non-believers.'"
The Seventh Phase . . . ' Definitive victory' . . . The rest of the world will be so beaten down by the 'one-and-a-half billion Muslims,' the caliphate will undoubtedly succeed. This phase should be completed by 2020, although the war shouldn't last longer than two years."
Whether the fifth and sixth phases pan out remains to be seen, but the seventh can't happen, as Bible prophecy makes it clear that Islam will not come to dominate the world (though not for lack of trying).
In any event, more attention should have been paid to what Fouad Hussein wrote nearly a decade ago. It demonstrates that Islamists take the long view, realizing it will take decades to attain their goals. This thinking is foreign to Western leaders, who in their shortsightedness have grossly misjudged what's been happening over the past many years.
[ See the related article:  Islamic Caliphate Declared: What Does It Mean? ]

Tens of thousands tweet #illridewithyou hashtag over cafe jihad backlash fears

A very interesting post from about the hashtag, #Illridewithyou. This follows this post about the President threatening sanctions against Israel. This follows this article about American energy independence and preventing money from going to hostile countries. For more, you can read two very interesting books HERE.
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Tens of thousands tweet #illridewithyou hashtag over cafe jihad backlash fears

Australia police“Reprisal attacks are something that should not happen.” Indeed so. They should not happen, and for the most part they don’t. Jihad attacks are also something that should not happen. Where are the Muslims offering to ride with Infidels in order to defend them against other Muslims who may wish to bomb them, behead them, or take them hostage as they step into a coffee shop today?
“#illridewithyou supports Muslims amid Sydney siege,” AFP, December 15, 2014 (thanks to Lookmann):
Australians came out Monday in solidarity with the Muslim community following a siege at a Sydney cafe, as tens of thousands tweeted the hashtag #illridewithyou to counter concern about an anti-Islam backlash.
The hostage-taking at the Lindt chocolate cafe triggered a security lockdown in the heart of Australia’s biggest city, with the government and Muslim leaders condemning the attack and calling for unity.
Amid uncertainty about the hostage-taker’s motives and fears of reprisals after an Islamic flag was raised in the cafe, an Australian woman reportedly started the #illridewithyou hashtag to show solidarity with Muslims who might feel threatened on public transport.
“#373 bus between Coogee & Martin Place. #illridewithyou @ me if you just want to wear your headdress & not be bothered,” @sirtessa tweeted.
Within hours, Australians around the country repeated the hashtag, with more than 40,000 tweets helping #illridewithyou become one of the top trends on the social media site.
“I make a commitment, right now, to always say something when I see any kind of abuse on public transport. #illridewithyou,” one user tweeted.
Another user in South Australia wrote, “If you wear religious attire, & need to get from #Adelaide’s west suburbs to the city on Tues but don’t want to travel alone #illridewithyou.”
Others offered help beyond travel support: “I’m mostly housebound so Im not useful for #illridewithyou but if you’re ever in tarneit VIC and need somewhere safe to hide out, contact me.”
Australia’s race discrimination commissioner Tim Soutphommasane said he was heartened by the campaign, adding: “let’s not allow fear, hatred and division to triumph.”
Anti-Islam groups had earlier expressed outrage about the siege, with the Australian Defence League writing on Facebook: “Here it is folks, homegrown islamic terrorism in our backyard, courtesy of successive australian governments and their brainwashed voters.”
New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said officers were working with the Muslim community.
“Reprisal attacks are something that should not happen,” he added.
More than 40 Muslim groups condemned the siege, saying in a statement that they rejected “any attempt to take the innocent life of any human being or to instil fear and terror into their hearts”.
Note the key word “innocent.” Which human beings exactly are innocent?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Was Jesus Born?

An interesting article from about the birth of Jesus. This follows this post about the movie Exodus: Gods and Kings.For a free magazine subscription or to get the books recommended for free click HERE! or call 1-888-886- 8632.
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When Was Jesus Born?

Was Jesus born on December 25? Can we even know when He was born? And most importantly, does it even really matter when Jesus was born?

Santa Claus Christmas ornament in pine tree.
God makes it very clear that He doesn’t like pagan worship practices being used to honor Him.

Source: PhotoDisc
When was Jesus Christ of Nazareth born? We hear Christmas carols about the baby Jesus in the manger and the winter wonderland associated with His birth. If we look at our calendars, chances are they label Dec. 25 "Christmas Day." The birth of Jesus Christ is said to be the reason behind the season. But was He actually born on that day? It's not as clear and simple as our calendars would suggest.
Dec. 25 wasn't always considered Jesus' birth date. In a U.S. News and World Report article titled "In Search of Christmas," Joseph Sheler wrote: "Lacking any scriptural pointers to Jesus' birthday, early Christian teachers suggested dates all over the calendar. Clement . . . picked November 18. Hippolytus . . . figured Christ must have been born on a Wednesday . . . An anonymous document believed to have been written in North Africa around A.D. 243, placed Jesus's birth on March 28" (Dec. 23, 1996, p. 58).
Although it's difficult to determine the first time anyone celebrated Dec. 25 as Christmas Day, historians are in general agreement that it was sometime during the fourth century. This is an amazingly late date! Think about it—this means that Christmas, which most consider Jesus' birthday, wasn't observed by the Roman church until about 300 years after Christ's lifetime on earth!
Christmas can't be traced back to either the teachings or the practices of the earliest Christians. That sounds almost impossible, doesn't it? But it's true.
So why did the Roman church adopt Dec. 25 as the time to celebrate Jesus' birth? The reason His birthday is celebrated at that time of year is that religious leaders in that era wanted to give a pagan festival held on Dec. 25 a name change to make it easier for pagans to convert to Christianity!
The Encyclopedia Americana makes this clear: "In the fifth century, the Western Church ordered it [Christ's birth] to be observed forever on the day of the old Roman feast of the birth of Sol [the sun god], as no certain knowledge of the day of Christ's birth existed" (1944 edition, "Christmas").
The reason for this confusion is not surprising. The Bible doesn't actually spell out the exact date of Jesus' birth. What's more, we find zero mentions of any celebrations being held honoring Christ's birthday by the early Church.

Jesus wasn't born in December

So what about Dec. 25? A careful Bible study shows that the middle of winter was clearly not the time Jesus was born. There are two big reasons why this can't be the time of Christ's birth.
First, we know that shepherds were in the fields watching their flocks at the time of Jesus' birth: "And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger . . . Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night" (Luke:2:7-8).
Shepherds would not have been "living out in the fields" during December, the weather being cold and miserable. According to Celebrations: The Complete Book of American Holidays , Luke's account "suggests that Jesus may have been born in summer or early fall. Since December is cold and rainy in Judea, it is likely the shepherds would have sought shelter for their flocks at night" (p. 309).
Similarly, The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary says this passage argues "against the birth [of Christ] occurring on Dec. 25 since the weather would not have permitted" shepherds watching over their flocks in the fields at night. Though some dispute this, other reputable sources, such as The Companion Bible and Clarke's Commentary, make the same points about the shepherds not being outside in the open at night in late December.
So the first reason we know He wasn't born in December was that there were shepherds in the fields tending their flocks, something that wouldn't have been happening in the cold Judean winter.
Another reason we can conclude that Jesus wasn't born in December is that His parents traveled to Bethlehem to register in a Roman census (Luke:2:1-4). No Roman ruler would've had a census taken in winter when temperatures often dropped below freezing and roads were in poor condition.
Taking a census under such conditions would have been self-defeating, since it would have been too difficult for Judean residents to travel to be counted. Travel back then wasn't as easy as it is today. We live in an age of heated vehicles and snowplowed roads, but back then the vast majority of people walked wherever they needed to go.
Based on these two facts alone we see that it's highly unlikely that the biblical account of Jesus' birth happened in the winter, let alone on the specific date of Dec. 25. More than being a simple incorrect guess, the Dec. 25 date was an attempt to synthesize pagan practices into Christian worship.

Jesus was born in the autumn of the year

This all begs the question: Just when was Jesus born?
We find important clues about the real time of His birth in what the Bible tells us about His cousin, John the Baptist.
Maybe you've read the Gospel of Luke and thought it was strange that the book begins not with the story of the conception of Jesus, but with the story of the conception of John the Baptist. There's a very good reason Luke was sure to tell us in very specific detail when John was conceived and born.
Luke tells us that John's mother Elizabeth was six months pregnant when Jesus was conceived: "In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to . . . a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary . . ." (Luke:1:24-36).
Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, were cousins. From this passage we know that John was six months older than Jesus. So we can discover the approximate time of year Jesus was born if we know when John was born.
Let's look at what the Bible says about the time of John's birth.
John's father Zacharias was a priest serving in the temple at Jerusalem in "the division of Abijah" (Luke:1:5). At this time, the temple priests in Jerusalem were divided into different "divisions" or "courses"—groups of priests that would take turns performing temple service during the year. This formed a yearly schedule for those serving at the temple.
Historians calculate that the course of Abijah, during which Zacharias served, was on duty around early to mid-June (see The Companion Bible, 1974, Appendix 179, p. 200).
During Zechariah's temple service, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and announced that he and his wife Elizabeth would have a child (Luke:1:8-13). After he completed his service and traveled home, Elizabeth conceived the cousin of Jesus—the child who would later become known as John the Baptist (Luke:1:23-24).
Considering that John's conception likely took place later in June, when Zechariah returned home after completing his service in the division of Abijah, adding nine months brings us to around late March as the most likely time for John's birth.
Adding another six months—the difference in ages between John and Jesus (Luke:1:35-36)—brings us to about late September as the likely time of Jesus' birth.

Does Christmas really honor Christ?

So if it can be shown from the Bible and some historical research that Jesus was born in the autumn of the year instead of December, does that mean we should keep Christmas in September instead of December?
No, it doesn't! Nowhere in the Bible do we find any instruction or command to celebrate Christ's birth. The fact that so many specific dates are given in the Bible about other important and less important events, while this exact date remains vague, is significant!
God didn't call for an annual celebration of Jesus' birth. God does give us other specific days to observe that honor Jesus Christ and the Father. For those who love God and His Son it's only natural to desire to worship Them. But it's far better to do this on the days and times God has set rather than to invent our own days and times!
As for the celebration of Christmas in December, remember what we read earlier about the Roman church adopting pagan practices into the Christian faith to create Christmas. Jesus wouldn't want us to celebrate pagan days to honor His birth.
How do we know what Jesus would or would not want us to do in this regard? God makes it very clear that He doesn't like pagan worship practices being used to honor Him. He told the ancient Israelites:
"When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, 'How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.' You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way . . . Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it" (Deuteronomy:12:29-32, emphasis added).

Jesus' coming brought us many things

We should of course be grateful that Jesus Christ was born—it's a joyous event that brought us many things.
He showed us how to have a relationship with God the Father. We see His example of a perfect life, perfect sacrifice, and His resurrection back to spirit life. He showed us the way for man to have the opportunity to share His glory and live forever in the family of God. He came to form a new relationship with man that, through His blood, extends to all nations. He came to become our High Priest and intercede before God's throne for us.
Through Him we can have an authentic and fulfilling relationship with God based on truth and love. And if we truly love Him, we will show Him love the way He wants to be loved. To love God we should do what He asks: "But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him" (1 John:2:5; compare John:14:15, John:14:21; John:15:10).
By not obeying God we are missing out on a closer relationship with Him. Christmas traditions, nearly all of which can be traced back to pre-Christian false religions (as nearly any good encyclopedia or a quick Internet search will verify) obscure these wonderful truths and keep us from a stronger relationship with God.
Christ was not born on Dec. 25, in the dead of winter. Celebrating this date as His birthday doesn't change the fact. And God never gave us instruction to observe Christ's birth annually in any fashion.
Instead of holding to a wrong day and a wrong idea, isn't it time you focus on why He was born? And shouldn't you be observing and discovering the meaning of the days He Himself instituted and observed? Build a better relationship with God starting today!