An apologetic on why December 25 is celebrated as Christmas Day, and why is it a very possible date of the Birthday of Christ
The Catholic Church does not teach that December 25 is the day when Jesus Christ was born. Yet secular history would say that the Christmas celebration originated from the earlier celebration of the Birthday of Sol Invictus, the Roman sun god. Yet there is a consideration that during the time of Emperor Constantine the Great, Christianity has already triumphed over paganism. December 25 is not anymore the birth of the Roman sun god, but rather the Birth of the Son of God. So Christmas should not be generalized as a pagan holiday because the paganism has already been wiped out of Rome during Constantine’s reign. Now the fact that Jesus Christ was born on December 25 has never been inscribed in the Scriptures, not even in the Gospels of Saints Matthew and Luke that recorded his Infancy. But looking at the Chronology of the dates, there is evidence that Jesus Christ may be born on December 25. And despite the controversies thrown by other sects, there is a realization on the spirt of the Christmas Season.
I. THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE BIRTH OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST ON THE DAY OF ATONEMENT (September 24, 5BCE)
There is a festival of the Jews called “Yom Kippur”. It is translated as “Day of Atonement”. Leviticus 23:26-32 narrates how the Lord God instructs Moses for the people of Israel to humble themselves and do no work, but rather an oblation to the Lord. In the 16th Chapter, the High Priest is the only one allowed to enter the Holy of Holies. It was during this time that Zechariah entered the temple because he was chosen by lot to offer incense inside the Holy of Holies (Cf. Luke 1:8-9). And it was also at the moment when the Archangel Saint Gabriel announced to him that his wife Elizabeth will conceive Saint John the Baptist in her womb, the prophet who would go before the Lord. The Festival of Yom Kippur falls for two consecutive days in the Month of September. It was said by historians that the year when the angel appeared to Zechariah, the exact date was September 24.
II. THE ANNUNCIATION OF JESUS CHRIST TO MARY ON THE SIXTH MONTH OF ELIZABETH’S PREGNANCY (March 25, 4BCE)
Luke 1:26 opens with the phrase “In the sixth month”. This signifies the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. It was at this time when the Archangel Saint Gabriel announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she will conceive our Lord Jesus Christ in her immaculate womb by the power of the Holy Spirit. Since September 24 was the date of the announcement to Zechariah, the Annunciation to Mary happened six months when Elizabeth was pregnant. This is the reason why March 25 is celebrated as the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. It was said that Mary was in silent prayer and meditation for these months of her pregnancy.
III. THE BIRTH OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST (June 24, 4BCE)
The Blessed Virgin Mary remained with her cousin Elizabeth for the last three months until the birth of Saint John the Baptist (Cf. Luke 1:56). After those three months of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, John was born and eighth days later was circumcised, given the name which means “God is gracious”. Then the Blessed Mother returned home to prepare for the birth of her Son, the Son of God. Counting nine months from September 24 (Yom Kippur), the Baptist was possibly born on June 24, which explains the Solemnity of his Nativity on this day. And this took place six months before Christmas.
IV. THE BIRTH OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IN BETHLEHEM (December 25, 4BCE)
Six months after the birth of Saint John the Baptist, our Lord Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem. This prompted the angels to sing their praises, shepherds to see the good news, and the Magi to adore the King that God has promised for the salvation of the world. Nine months after the Annunciation on March 25 comes December 25. This is a possible explanation on why December 25 is known as Christmas Day and celebrated as the Solemnity of the Nativity of our Lord. This explains the possibility of proving such date through the Chronology of events from the time of the announcement to Zechariah until the actual birth of Christ our Lord and Savior.
So this is the Chronology of events that have possible proofs of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ on December 25, which is known as Christmas Day. However the Catholic encyclopedia still defines that the Church never taught that day to be his Birth. Nevertheless what remains important is the importance of celebrating Christmas, which is our Lord Jesus Christ, the reason for the season. And there is nothing wrong with celebrating it not because the Lord won’t mind, but because the chronology of events mention though either accurate or inaccurate in terms of their dates point out to the greatest gift of God, his promise of salvation for the human race.