Christmas! Why Jesus couldn’t have been born in winter

Christmas is a great religious holiday. It is commonly believed that on January 7th or December 25th, the greatest man ever lived, Jesus Christ, was born. We won’t argue about the historical fact of Christ’s birth itself or its significance to all of us.

We will try to understand on what basis it is believed that Jesus was born in the deep winter, specifically on December 25th (January 7th).

First of all, we need to clarify that any details about the birth, life, and death of Christ can only be found in the Bible. Although various secular sources mention Christ, these references are usually scant.

The works of the so-called Church Fathers, who lived centuries after Christ’s death, are also unable to answer many of the questions that concern us. So, let’s turn to the Bible – the book that provides us with at least 90% of all our knowledge about Christ (the remaining 10% are speculations of speculations). Let’s see what it says about the birth of the Son of God.

The Evangelist Luke provides the most complete account of Jesus’ early years. The other three – Matthew, Mark, and John – supplement it with some details. It’s worth noting that the Bible doesn’t mention any specific dates regarding the matter at hand. Apparently, the evangelists didn’t attach much importance to it. However, let’s try to determine the time of year.

In the second chapter of his account, Luke points out two circumstances that suggest that the birth of the infant Jesus occurred when it was still warm. In Luke 2, it says that on the night Jesus was born, the shepherds with their flocks were in the field.

The theologian Alexander Men writes in his book “Histories of Religion”:

St. Luke says that the shepherds were guarding their flocks at night and living directly under the open sky. But in December, the sheep were already sheltered. They could be on the pastures from early March to early November; hence, Jesus was born in March-November.

To Alexander Men’s argument, we can add the second circumstance: at that time, Caesar Augustus ordered all Jews to be registered, each in the city of their birth, probably to better collect taxes. Scripture says that everyone went to their hometowns. (Luke 2:3). Since relations between the people and the Caesar were already, to put it mildly, strained, it would be unreasonable on his part to force people to take such “walks” in the middle of winter. It was more likely a warm time of year.

So, where did the date of December 25th come from? The “American Encyclopedia” says:

It is not entirely clear why Christmas is celebrated on December 25th. It is likely that this day was chosen because it was a day of a pagan holiday in honor of the “birth of the sun god”…

The “World of Russian Culture” handbook reports:

Christmas began to be celebrated on December 25th, which is best explained by the desire of the church to supplant the popular cult of the sun god Mithras in the Roman Empire. Mithras’ birth was also celebrated on December 25th.

In general, what difference does it make when and why we celebrate Christmas? For most of us, it’s a holiday when all our relatives gather around one table, and the reasons are already irrelevant. We don’t gather to discuss or praise Christ, after all – even the most hardcore atheists celebrate Christmas. So, I’m off to my relatives to taste the delicacies, washed down with wine!