Here's an interesting little blurb about when Jesus was born. As the author of this post points out most of of us who have given this question any thought have always assumed that December 25 must have been a pagan holiday coming so near the winter solstice. Well it turns out that December 25 was definitely not a Roman pagan holiday at least not till after Christians had begun celebrating that date as the birth of Christ. Why did the early Christians believe that Jesus was born on December 25? For a number of reasons set out in the blog entry but the most interesting one to me is this on especially since I mentioned Chrysostom in the service last Sunday:
We also find St. John Chrysostom (a patriarch of Constantinople who died in 407 A.D.) noted that Christians had celebrated December 25 from the Church's early days. Chrysostom reinforced his point with an argument that used Scripture, not pagan mythology, for corroboration:
Luke 1 says Zechariah was performing priestly duty in the Temple when an angel told his wife Elizabeth she would bear John the Baptist. During the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, Mary learned about her conception of Jesus and visited Elizabeth "with haste."
The 24 classes of Jewish priests served one week in the Temple, and Zechariah was in the eighth class. Rabbinical tradition fixed the class on duty when the Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70 and, calculating backward from that, Zechariah's class would have been serving Oct. 2-9 in 5 B.C. So Mary's conception visit six months later might have occurred the following March and Jesus' birth nine months afterward.
Read the whole thing here.
UPDATE: After posting this I kind of recalled posting something about it last year. I checked and sure enough, I posted a more indepth article about this same theory last year, here.