A Quick Study On Christmas

Luke 2 records that Jesus was born in a manger, “And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and LAID HIM IN A MANGER, because there was no room for them, in the inn” (vs. 7).

The manger in ancient times was a limestone cave usually situated behind the home, used for feeding animals. Jesus’ parents were probably borrowed this cave by some family, at their backyard, to deliver the Child Jesus.

The same verse also speaks of Jesus wrapped in “swaddling cloths.” This was used to tie the baby’s legs in one place, so they could grow properly. This was done immediately after the new child was bathed and his umbilical cord cut (cf. Eze 16:4).

One area which raises no small contention has always been: “WHEN was Jesus born?” It must be noted that December 25th is not Jesus’ birthday. It was only adopted to celebrate Jesus’ birth.

Now, can we know when Jesus was born from the scriptural texts? Well, we have some clues. For instance, vs. 8 tells us that at the same time Jesus was born, some shepherds were “keeping watch over their flock, by night.” Shepherds in ancient times led their flock into the open fields to find pasture (see Exo 3:1, 1 Sam 16:11, 17:34, cf. John 10:4). This was often done at the mountainous regions or in the deserts. That detail “by night” (vs. 8) is very important.

In that culture, shepherds would not watch their sheep by night if it were winter. Winter was characterized by extremely low temperatures (i.e. excessive cold), which prohibited livestock grazing. Shepherds were forced to retreat with their sheep to find shelter in such harsh weather conditions.

Thus, Jesus could not have been born in December (winter period). Shepherds could not have been watching their sheep on a cold winter night. They only did so during much warmer periods (i.e. around summer), which would place the time of Jesus’ birth around June—September.

December, the 25th is therefore not the exact day of His birth; it is merely a day to celebrate His birth. Although we might not know for certain the exact day our Lord was conceived, we do know His conception to be a true event in history (Luke 2:4-7, 3:23-38, Isaiah 9:6-7, cf. John 1:14), of a virgin (Matt 1:18-25, Luke 1:26-35, cf. Isa 7:14, Gal 4:4), to save humanity from sin and death (Matt 1:21, Luke 2:11, 19:10, Acts 13:23, 1 Tim 1:15, 2 Tim 1:10). This is enough for every true believer in Christ.


(The above study was culled from the sermon-series “Reading The Bible In Context” by Pastor Josh. You may get it here)


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2023.


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