First, what do we know? We know, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.” (Micah 5:2)
So the ruler of Israel is to be born in Bethlehem and his origin is from the beginning of time. “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you, he is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)
We have a record that this baby was born in David’s city some 2000 years ago, “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.” (Luke 2:8) This baby was born during a time of the year when the shepherds were in the fields with their flocks. “While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” (Luke 2:6-7)
Fittingly this baby who years latter would call himself the Lamb of God was born in a stable and placed in an animal trough because there were no more rooms available in Bethlehem. So what else do we know?
The Tenakh (Jewish Scriptures) doesn’t identify the month in which the Messiah would be born, and the New Covenant doesn’t identify the date he was born.
Why were Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem? Because Caesar wanted everyone taxed and they had to go to their city of origin. (Luke 2:1-5)
Therefore biblically we can identify Bethlehem as the place. This is verified by the Tenakh and New Covenant.
Now, how about that date December 25th? Lets talk about what we know. The Catholic Encyclopedia says, “Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church. Irenaeus and Tertullian [early Church fathers] do not show it on their list of feasts.”
Originally Mithraism was a large, pagan, sun worship cult which fostered the celebration of December 25th as a holiday throughout the Roman and Greek worlds. It was not until the latter part of the fourth century that the Roman Church began observing December 25th. Because this feast was so popular among the pagan population of Greece and Rome, the date was simply adopted as the time of the birth of Jesus by the Roman church. By the fifth century, it was decreed that the birth of Jesus be forever observed on this date, even though this was the day of the old Roman feast of the birth of Sol, one of the names of the sun-god.
The Christians who first observed the birth of Jesus on December 25th did not do so thinking that he was born on that day, but because the pagan winter festival of Saturnalia was celebrated on that date in Rome, they were willing to have this pagan holiday metamorphosed into a Christian one. Despite its association with paganism, Christmas was, and still is, celebrated by most Christians today.
Admittedly, most Christians are unaware that Christmas has a pagan origin. This is because by the time Christmas was adopted all the Jewish flavor of the church had been removed. What we must ask is what is the likelyhood that God would pick a pagan holiday as the day when the Messiah would be born? Lets look at this. Did Yeshua die on just any other day? No, he died when the lambs were slaughtered before the feast of Passover (Lev 23:4-8 and John 19-31). Did the Holy Spirit appear to the Apostles and Mary on just any random day? The Feast of First Fruits (Lev. 23:16), shavout, and Pentecost occur on the same day (Act 2:1-4). This appears to correspond to the giving of the law. So the Holy Spirit did not come to the Apostles on any day. The Holy Spirit came on a Jewish feast day. The First day of the seventh Month is the Feast of Trumpets aka Rosh Hashannah. The First day of the 7th month of the Jewish calendar is not really New Years. It is the Feast of Trumpets. This Feast begins to announce the coming of the Messiah. Notice the trumpets (I Thes. 4:13-17; I Cor. 15:52; and Rev. 10:7). This appears to correspond with the taking up of those who belong to the Messiah. It will signal to the world that the Messiah is coming. The 10th day is the Day of Atonement. (Lev. 23:24-28) This corresponds to the sin and faithlessness that we see in Ex. 32: 30-35 and Num. 21:6. It may be that this was the day of the first sin and subsequent days of significant sin. This may be the day when the man of sin is revealed. The 15th day of the 7th Month is the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev 23:34-36) Also known as Sukkot or booths. It signals the ingathering of the first fruits, but also the tabernacle that carried the Presence of God. Since the Presence of God is associated with this feast, it appears likely that Messiah came the first time during this feast and will come again (Dan 7: 13-14) during this feast. There is a reason why God established these feasts to be observed by Israel from generation to generation.
December 25th does not fit into this at all. It is also one of the reasons why Rabbis and Orthodox Jewish anti-missionaries use this information to confirm that Christianity is a pagan religion and that the story of Jesus’ birth is just a myth from the pagan festival of the birth of Sol, the sun-god. According to this logic, Yeshua couldn’t be the Jewish Messiah! Christmas, with all its commercialism, will not bring anyone to faith in the Messiah. If our religious leaders could muster the courage to leave December 25th for the pagans who want to take Jesus out of Christmas anyway and decide to adopt the feasts which clearly have messianic significance, we could help silence the rabbis and make it easier for the Jewish people to embrace their blessed hope.