And the shepherds were in the same country, living in the fields, and keeping guard over their flocks by night Luke 2:8
Living In The Fields – By now you probably realize that Christmas has nothing to do with the birth of the Messiah. There are plenty of textual clues indicating that Yeshua could not have been born during the winter solstice. One of them is found in Luke’s use of the Greek agraulountes, a verb that means “to live or remain outdoors.” You can see the root of our English word “agronomist” here. The shepherds remained on the land.
Why does this indicate that the birth of Yeshua could not have been in the winter? Because shepherds in the first century would not keep their sheep in the fields during the coldest months of the year. In winter, the sheep were kept in sheepfolds, not in the fields. In addition to this bit of information, there are other clues that point us to a birth in the Spring. In fact, it seems quite likely that Yeshua was born according to God’s calendar of festival events rather than Man’s alternative of the solar year. It is far more likely that he was born on Purim, the festival of deliverance.
Christmas, December 25th, is really a variation of the celebration of the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice. Before the discovery of a mistake in the Gregorian calendar, this day would have fallen on December 22nd. How did it become the day for the celebration of the birth of Yeshua? The answer isn’t very comforting. The winter solstice was an important pagan festival in fertility cults. It was a celebration of life returning to the world. In fertility cults, the diminishing sun was a symbol of the removal of the fecundity of the gods. Since the days began to lengthen after December 22, fertility religions often considered this a sign that the gods had once again impregnated the earth and it would bear fruit in its season. In other words, Christmas was a celebration of the sexual potency of pagan gods (but don’t tell your children).
When Constantine adopted Christianity as the official religion of Rome, he simply transferred the existing pagan celebrations into the religion of Christianity. He replaced the Jewish calendar of God’s festival events with a calendar of his own pagan practices. Easter, another pagan fertility celebration about divine eggs, became the Christian day of the resurrection. Christmas became the day of Yeshua’s birth. It was no longer necessary to follow God’s festival calendar. Constantine and Christianity just made their own list.
This might shock you. Hopefully not. But it raises a serious question. If we continue to celebrate Christmas (or Easter), aren’t we endorsing a pagan, sexually-based cult? Should we refuse to participate because of the real historical background? Each of us must decide, but here is my opinion. I am fully aware that the history of Christmas is pagan. I know that historically it has nothing to do with the birth of my Savior. But the vast majority of my friends don’t have a clue. Christmas has been a part of their “Christian” experience so long now that they are convinced it is about Jesus. If I shatter their belief in order to “correct” them, I could easily damage their genuine (but misguided) love for my Lord. They don’t know the truth, but they do seek to worship the God of truth. So, I don’t apply the sledgehammer. I give gifts. I join with my family. I see friends and enjoy their company. If they ask, I tell them that Jesus is not the reason for this season. And I let it go. God will bring them around if He chooses to do so. Truth is not my job. That is the role of the Spirit. My job is to know the truth and govern myself accordingly. I don’t celebrate the birth of Yeshua on Christmas. But I also remember Paul’s comments about weaker and stronger brothers. So, I go gently into the night.
Topical Index: Christmas, agraulountes, fields, Luke 2:8