Jesus' Birth

Dear Fellow-Disciple:

The next day he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)

Most Christians realize Jesus Christ was not born on December 25th. The celebration of Christmas began in the fourth century, when Emperor Constantine professed Christianity, placing it on an equal footing with paganism.

The people of the Roman world accepted this now-popular Christianity by the hundreds of thousands, but they brought many pagan customs with them, one of which was the festival of December 25th.

This was their time to worship the sun-god, the pagan Brumalia (December 25), following the Saturnalia (December 17-24), the celebration of the shortest day of the year and the arrival of the new sun. It was an easy transition for them to change the purpose of their festival from the worship of the sun-god, to the worship of the Son of God.

None of this had anything to do with the actual birth of Christ. The weather in Bethlehem is similar to that slightly north of Atlanta, which freezes practically every night in December.

Shepherds would not stay out all night to watch sheep in freezing weather, but in the spring, when the sheep give birth to lambs, shepherds stay out to be sure the lambs are safe.

God set April (Abib, Nisan), the month of Passover, as the first month of the year. (Exodus 12:2; 13:4; Deuteronomy 16:1)

Jesus was more than one year old, but less than two years old, when Herod decreed that all male children age two years and under were to be killed. (Matthew 2:16)

Herod died in the 12th month (March), in the YOR (Year of Rome) 750. This was also the year 3971 A.M. (Anno Mundi: In the Year of the World), and the year 4 B.C.

Year 1 A.D. (Anno Domini: In the Year of our Lord), coincided with YOR 754, and the year 3975 A.M., five years after the birth of Christ.

John the Baptist began to preach in the 15th year of Tiberias (Luke 3:1-3,23), and Jesus was about 30 years old at the time of His baptism. This places the baptism at YOR 778, which is the year 3999 A.M., or 25 A.D.

It is reasonable to assume that Jesus, the Lamb of God, was born at the season when other Passover lambs were born, in the first month, April. (John 1:29; Exodus 12:5)

This places the birth of Christ around April 1, 5 B.C. It seems fitting that the world has made April 1st, April Fool's Day.

God is probably not concerned about the celebration of birthdays. They have their origin in paganism, not Christianity. But the exact dates of Jesus' death and resurrection are documented, and that is a time of celebration for all Christians.

God is more concerned about our hearts (Proverbs 3:1; 23:26). December 25th is a time for us to be "instant in prayer," (Romans 12:12), and to "Pray without ceasing," (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

It has been said that no labor is so hard as prayer. This is especially true in our culture of rushing and running. Prayer requires constant effort. It demands a subdued and broken mind and a triumphant spirit. Prayer is the source of spiritual life for Christians. That's why we should pray frequently and with diligence.

If we use a prayer book, we need to be sure we have our heart in what we read. We don't want to be like those Jesus spoke of as He quoted Isaiah: "This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me." (Matthew 15:8)

To be instant in prayer means to be constantly engaged, to press on, to quicken one's pace, to demand earnestly. There is nothing Christians must do more frequently than to pray, and nothing requires more effort. For this reason, nothing is more effective and fruitful. Prayer is like paddling upstream against the current, because most prayer consists of fighting against the devil and the flesh.

One thing helps in the midst of all this effort. The more we bring the Holy Spirit into our prayer time, the easier it becomes. The Holy Spirit knows the mind of God because He is the essence of God. When we allow Him to direct our prayers, we know we pray according to the will of God (Romans 8:26,27).

When the Christmas season rolls around, let's forget the pagan overtones and focus instead upon the Child who was born to become the Christ. Let's open a line of communication with Him, deepen our relationship and strengthen our commitment.

Jesus is King!

P.S. What are you doing of eternal value?

 

Question for today: What kind of prayer warrior am I?