Separately, and more directly from the Bible, Luke 1 tells us Zacharias, John the Baptist's father, was in the priestly division of Abijah. Based on a calculation of this and the division of priest in the temple in 70 A.D. when the temple fell, a number of early Church historians presumed Zacharias would have been in the temple in early October. Later historians, however, speculate it would have been June. The Gospel of Luke tells us when Zacharias left the temple, his wife conceived. "In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazaerth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David," Luke 1:25-26 notes.
Six months after Zacharias left the temple would be March as Mary's time of conception. Fast forward nine months and again we find ourselves in December. With the very earliest Church fathers settling on March 25th as Christ's death and believing fully that Christ's death would occur on the anniversary of his conception, the early church reinforced its belief well before there is any written accusation or evidence of the church incorporating Saturnalia or Sol Invictus into its celebrations. It is important to note, however, that most scholars reject setting Christ's birth to Zacharias's temple service because of problems related to really knowing when he was there.
But there are three final points. One can look at all of this and conclude the church fathers got it wrong. But the real question is whether they themselves thought they got it wrong. They were pretty sure they were right. The earliest Christians refused to celebrate birthdays, but by 300 A.D., there was growing evidence the Church had noted Christ's birthday around December 25th.
Second, some of the earliest traditions of the early Church held that Christ was born on what would be a Wednesday. This year, we too will celebrate Christ's birth on a Wednesday.
Finally, the date of Christ's birth is not important. What is important is that he is.
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