From: Bob Williams
Early Christians believed in the miraculous and virgin birth of Christ, but did not celebrate Christmas day. Origin, in 254 A.D., stated that celebrating Jesus’ birth would be sinful and was likened to celebrating the birth of Pharaoh rather than the Son of God. Today many sheepishly admit that December 25 is likely not the actual date of Christ’s birth since that is also a major pagan holiday. It is obvious that to God, the who, how, what, where and why are more important than the when related to Christ’s birth.
If it is important to you, the Bible provides answers to when Christ was born. The first chapter of Luke contains information concerning the conception and birth of both John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus. Luke, as was his nature, precisely, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, records these events. Since space does not permit, you need to carefully follow these passages on your own.
In Luke 1:5-9, Zacharias was a priest who faithfully discharged his duties in the temple when his “course” came. Luke 1:15-17 records he knew he and his wife, Elizabeth, were to have a special child. In Luke 1:23-24, after his temple service, Elizabeth conceived John. In Luke 1:26-27, 35-36, six months after the conception of John, the angel Gabriel announced to Mary the supernatural conception of God’s Son. Clearly, based on these passages, Jesus was conceived and born six months after John. The issue is, when was John conceived?
Luke 1:5, 8 tells us Zacharias was of the “course of Abia.” In Chronicles 24, we learn that, as set out by King David, there were 24 courses, or divisions of priests for temple service. Each course lasted a week (2Kings 11:9; 2Chron. 23:8) with each priest serving “in the order of his course” one week every six months. The exception was service for the three great pilgrimage feasts when all priests served together.
According to 1Chron. 24:10, the “course of Abijah” (Hebrew for the Greek Abia) was the eighth in order. Eight weeks after Passover (the “beginning of the months”) puts this course in the middle of June. After his week of service, Zacharias then traveled some 30 miles to his home, after which Elizabeth became pregnant. This places the conception of John in late June.
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy Gabriel announces to Mary the conception of Jesus. Counting six months from late June gets us to late December for the conception of Jesus, the real miracle of Christmas. Thus the birth of John would have been in late March, or nine months after his June conception, and the Christ-child would have been born in late September.
Once we realize the real miracle of the incarnation of Christ is the conception — a conception that took place on or about December 25, it becomes obvious that the pagan winter festivals celebrating new life are only Satanic corruptions of a marvelous truth. Thus we are free at this time of year to give thanks for the genuinely stupendous miracle which is the foundation of Christian faith.