I find it interesting that people on both sides of the line, Catholic and Protestant, seem to resist the notion that Jesus was born on December 25, 2 B.C.?
I have really enjoyed the research and discussion because it is very confirming what Catholics have always maintained from the beginning.
This has been a great Christmas study from several different perspectives.
Listening to the Anti-Catholics debating this, it really sounds like they can't handle the idea that they are wrong about the foundations of the Catholic Faith.
For them, the Catholic Church has to be born from Paganism. Jesus can't really be the founder of the Catholic Faith so for them, Dec 25th can't be true.
Like the Wise men who followed a star, we too embark on a journey in search of the new born King.
Listening to good Catholics who hear this for the first time, it sounds to dogmatic, maybe to mean to shake family traditions.
It's a wonderful tradition and the Church is celebrating Christmas to counter Paganism.
To them it doesn't matter what day we celebrate Christmas. It has been interesting to be caught in the middle between faithful Catholics and anti-Catholics.
Of course we will always side with the faithful Catholics on this, but I think it is great that we can go deeper into the truth of Christmas. Recent scientific data, tradition, the scripture all point to the validity of Dec 25.
This is the basis on which the rest of this article will be based.
I want to try and place all the pieces together for the Christmas Story. December 25, Joseph brought Jesus and Mary into Bethlehem, but as they arrived, Luke 2:6 says, "While they were there, the time came for her to have her child".
Maybe Joseph was attempting to report to the census, maybe because of Mary's labor, it was an emergency that they find a place to deliver the child.
Luke 2:7 indicates Joseph attempted to find an inn but there was no room because of all the travelers coming to file in to the census. The manger or cave appears to have been a hasty place provided because of Mary's quick labor.
Luke 2:7 says that Mary gave birth to Jesus where "she wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger".
Another possibility is that it was dark when Joseph and his family arrived in Bethlehem, as they quickly found a manger, the angels began praising God saying, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests" (Luke 2:14).
The Shepherds were out in the pastures watching over their sheep when all this began to take place.
Meanwhile, the star had led the Wise men to Israel and by this time, they are going through Jerusalem asking "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage".
This ruckus grabbed the attention of King Herod and he summoned the Wise men to ascertain the time of the stars appearance.
Herod intended to deceive them so he could identify this threat to his throne and kill the Christ Child.
From the birth until the wise men arrived bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, St. Joseph moved from the cave or stable to perhaps a relatives house.
Since Bethlehem was the City of Joseph's heritage (David), it's possible that Joseph had relatives present in Bethlehem so he was able to make this move.
The star continued to shine over Bethlehem for another 5 more days. At any rate, Matthew 2:11 indicates that when the wise men did arrive, they entered the house where Mary and the Child was.
When did the wise men actually arrive at the place where Jesus and Mary were resting? There is a short window following this star for five days.
I think this event had to occur between 25 December and very early 1 January. I tend to think it would have been later than sooner because what happens next. Matthew states that the Wise men (magi) camped for the night and beheld a dream.
God warns the magi not to return to Herod, but to go another route out of the Country. This dream had to be important because as the magi were leaving Joseph received a dream from an angel saying, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herold is going to search for the child to destroy him" (Matthew 2:13).
I do not see St. Joseph waiting around to see what happens, they leave Bethlehem immediately. I think that the Magi's visit and Joseph's departure would be the same evening. This probably would be the night of 31 December or very early 1 January.
Luke's next hard time line should be 1 January as Jesus is in Jerusalem (7 miles away from Bethlehem) and he is presented to the temple for circumcision.
This happened on the eighth day from his birth. The Child was named Jesus. Simeon foretells that Jesus would be "the fall and rise of many in Israel".
That Mary's heart would be pierced by a sword. Also, there was an older lady who began to speak "about this child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem".
Now this presents a problem for Joseph, after receiving a vision from an angel to get out of dodge and here they are in Jerusalem where surely if Herod knew Jesus was there, he would have called back all the Soldiers to Jerusalem?
What a story! Joseph sees Simeon prophecy concerning Jesus. This is becoming a suspense novel!
Just as Jesus walked through an angry hostile crowd who had wanted to throw him off a mountain, Jesus escapes to Egypt with no apparent problems.
Luke only records that from this scene, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. Luke mentions nothing about Egypt and the haste leaving Bethlehem.
Remember, St. Luke was a Gentile and he writes what God wanted him to say. It makes sense that Joseph would take the Holy Family to Nazareth and from there flee to Egypt through a major route that Herod would not suspect.
The good news is that Jesus did not get caught by Herod's thugs, but the bad news is that the magi could not have been in Bethlehem visiting Jesus on 6 January.
Jesus was on his way to Nazareth getting far away from Bethlehem. But the gold and gifts the magi gave to the Holy Family helped to pay for the trip to Egypt.
Science, scripture, and tradition along with personal perspective on my part, this is the most I can tell from the evidence given.
For more information concerning Dec 25 as the birth of Christ, please click here:
Video used by permission:
About the Author of the presentation video/DVD of the Star of Bethlehem project:
When you watch this video, you will see a picture given me from Iraqi friends of a baby being baptized. If you take a good look, you can see the water rolling off the head of the child in the form of a Rosary!
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