DECEMBER 25: Joe Heschmeyer writes, “There are popular theories that the December 25 dating was a Christian response to the pagans’ feast of Saturnalia or of Sol Invictus, but neither of these theories seems to work out historically.”
Saturnalia was an ancient Roman feast, but it was celebrated on December 17. Sol Invictus didn’t appear until the third century, but the imperial feast days were August 8, August 9, August 28, and December 11.
According to the article linked below, the selection of December 25 for Christ’s birth is historically rooted in a document from the end of the 2d century CE, in which a couple of church fathers decided that Jesus was both conceived and crucified on March 25. Add nine months, and you get December 25.
In fact, Jesus died on April 3, 33 CE (Nisan 14, 3794 Hebrew). This date was lost for centuries, because historians forgot that the Messianic sect of Essenes celebrated a meat-less Passover on the evening of Nisan 13. This then was when the Jesus and the Apostles ate the Last Supper, which puts Christ’s bloody sacrifice on the same day that the priests in the Temple were preparing the Passover lambs for the traditional Passover Seder on Nisan 14.
There was also a transcription error in an important early document that placed King Herod’s death in 4 BCE, not 1 BCE, which is what the original says. For many hundreds of years, this messed up calculations of his birth year and age at death. However, all of these dating problems disappear completely once you understand about the Essenes and the transcription error.
According to the star maps shown in the DVD, The Star of Bethlehem, Jesus’ birth was on June 17th, 1 BCE. Remarkably, the star maps also show that the Magi showed up at his house precisely on December 25. Since at the time, the date meant nothing in particular to anyone, those early mistakes that set the date we give gifts in His honor is a marvelous God-incidence!