This year, 2016, the first day of Hanukkah and Christmas are both on December 25 with Hanukkah beginning the evening of December 24. While the Jewish people have celebrated Hanukkah and the Christians have celebrated Christmas, Jesus celebrated Hanukkah as we learn in John 10:22-23. In this text Hanukkah is referred to as the Feast of Dedication because this was the day when the Jewish people rededicated the altar to God after Antiochus had desecrated it. Of course Jesus did not celebrate Christmas as there was no such holiday.
While the New Testament records the birth of Jesus, it does not record the specific date of His birth. Unlike modern times, people in Bible times, and for the first three centuries, did not celebrate birthdays because that was a pagan custom. So how did we decide on the birth date of Jesus?
When Antiochus desecrated the Temple by offering a swine on the holy altar of God in 167BC, he chose December 25 as the date because this was the birthday of Zeus. Zeus was the high god of Greece and considered the incarnation of the sun. Together with his goddess-mother, Rhea (the Queen of Heaven), they represented the Greek version of the mother/child cult of Babylon which easily transitioned into Mary worship and Jesus so the pagans could accept Roman Christianity.
December 25th was the winter solstice, when days began to lengthen. In view of this, the ancient world of pagan sun-worshippers celebrated December 25 as the birthday of the sun. For example, to the Romans, Zeus was known as Jupiter. He was the Roman high god of the sun. The Romans celebrated December 25th (the birthday of Zeus/Jupiter) as Dies Natalis Invicti Solis, “the Day of the Nativity of the Unconquered Sun.”
In the fourth century of our era, after Constantine “Christianized” Rome, he chose December 25 as the day to celebrate the birth of Jesus so that the pagan Romans would accept the new Christian religion of Rome. Constantine, himself a sun-worshipper, may have believed Jesus to be an incarnation of Jupiter, the sun god.
Because of the obvious pagan origins, many segments of Christianity condemned the observance of December 25 due to its connection to sun worship. In fact, our Pilgrim Fathers did not celebrate Christmas knowing that is was a pagan holiday that Rome had Christianized. Furthermore, the Puritans actually banned Christmas from being celebrated in the Colonies. The ban was later overturned when those less pious came to the Colonies in larger numbers.
So when was Jesus born? The Bible gives us the clues if we would only search it out for ourselves. Backing up nine months, Jesus was probably conceived during Hanukkah and born at the Feast of Tabernacles. Luke gives us the clues.
According to Luke 1:5, Zecharias was a priest of the division of Abijah. Luke 1:8 says that Gabriel appeared to Zecharias when he was serving as a priest in the temple.
We learn from 1Chronicles 24:10, the division of Abijah served as priests during the second half of the fourth month on the Jewish religious calendar. This would be late June when Zecharias served in the temple and when Elizabeth conceived John the Baptist. This means that John the Baptist was born the next year around Passover.
Luke gives us more clues. He says, that Mary conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit in the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy (Luke 1:24-26). This means that Jesus was conceived during the latter part of the Jewish month of Kislev or late December (Hanukkah), on the Gentile calendar.
Jesus was born nine months later, possibly on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles when God tabernacled among us. He was circumcised on the eighth day (Luke 2:21) at the end of the Feast of Tabernacles to show a new beginning of redemption for mankind.
Oh by-the-way, John the Baptist was not a Baptist,
Mary was not a Catholic and Jesus was not a Christian.
THEY WERE ALL JEWS!
HAPPY HANUKKAH AND MERRY CHRISTMAS