Nativity Week

When was Jesus approximately born? Is there a proof for the actual date? The post Christmas Lambs showed that it is reasonable to believe in the birth of Jesus in the months of December-January, while [stupid] Objections to the 25th showed that early Christians celebrated Christmas on the 25th of December. Were they wrong?

St Luke records that Zacharias, the father of St John the Baptist, was a Jewish priest in the course, or family, of Abias (Luke 1:5). The priestly course of Abias was the 8th out of 24 priestly courses (Nehemiah 12:17), and served during the 8th and the 32nd week of the Jewish liturgical cycle. The study of Josef Heinrich Friedlieb on the fall of Jerusalem has established that the 1st priestly course of Jojarib was on duty on the destruction of Jerusalem of A.D. 70. This happened on the 9th day of the Jewish month of Av, meaning that the priestly course of Jojarib was on duty on the second week of Av.

Now this is where the anti-Christmas crowds usually choose to ignore important facts. The first is that the priestly courses served twice during the year. The meaning of this is that one ends up with two possible dates for the birth of Christ. The Christmas-phobics usually ignores the other service of the priestly course of Abias, for the second service is more probable than the one they gives.

The date of service of the priestly course of Jojarib proves that the priestly course of Abias, in which St Zacharias belonged, served during the second week of the Jewish month of Tishri.

The Christmas-phobics will say that Zacharias served during the second week of the month of Sivan. It is less probable, as Zacharias, being one of the higher priests, offered incense while the whole assembly of God’s people prayed outside while being on his priestly course’s time of office (Luke 1:8-10). Zacharias was chosen during a special feast day when Jews prayed outside the sanctuary; it was the whole multitude of the people who prayed for him during his time of danger. There was no special feast day during the second week of the month of Sivan. There was a special feast day during the second week of the month of Tishri, the week of the Day of Atonement, which happened on the 10th day of Tishri.

In the Gregorian calendar, the Day of Atonement land anywhere from September 22nd to October 8th. The Day of Atonement was one of the most important feast days of the Jews, and Zacharias was chosen to offer the incense by lot. As the Day of Atonement land anywhere from September 22nd to October 8th, St John the Baptist was conceived between the end of September to the beginning of October. St John the Baptist should have been born around the end of June. In fact, since the early days of the church, Christians celebrate the nativity of St John the Baptist on June 24.

Saint Luke writes that the Blessed Virgin Mary conceived Christ when Elizabeth was six month pregnant, as the angel Gabriel had told her. St John the Baptist was thereby six months older than Jesus. If one adds six month to the end of June, he will get the end of December or the beginning of January.

Again, one knows from the Awassi sheep that Jesus can be born in December or January. If we use the average gestation length, Jesus would have been born in the days between or around December 22nd to January 8th.

That is around 18 days long, and wonder of wonders, Christmas season falls into that exact time. The traditions of the early Christians is not based on a random date, but on the wisdom of the Apostles and the testimony of the Mother of God.

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