Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night… For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:8, 11 NKJV).
Whether or not Jesus was an actual historical person is still disputed, but if the biblical account is to be trusted, we know for sure Jesus was not born on December 25th.
The simple fact is that in the middle of winter shepherds near Bethlehem would not be “living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.” They only did this in the warm months of the year.
The Catholic Encyclopedia admits that “Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church.” In other words, the early church never celebrated the birth of Jesus, let alone on December 25th.
Encyclopedia Britannica explains that:
“The reason why Christmas came to be celebrated on December 25 remains uncertain, but most probably the reason is that early Christians wished the date to coincide with the pagan Roman festival marking the ‘birthday of the unconquered sun’ (natalis solis invicti); this festival celebrated the winter solstice, when the days again begin to lengthen and the sun begins to climb higher in the sky. The traditional customs connected with Christmas have accordingly developed from several sources as a result of the coincidence of the celebration of the birth of Christ with the pagan agricultural and solar observances at midwinter.
So as I said, Jesus was not born today. But you know who was? Isaac Newton, the English physicist, mathematician, and astronomer. He was born December 25, 1642, in Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, England.
Happy birthday to Newton, science, and the enlightenment.