A reason to celebrate
By Father Christopher Roberts
For centuries, most believing Christians would have said that they celebrated the Nativity of Jesus on December 25 because this day was the actual date of His birth. When historically-minded scholars began to study the feast’s genesis in the eighteenth century, the belief that Jesus was born in late December came into serious doubt. As with so much of post-Enlightenment historical inquiry into Christian origins, doubts about the date of Christmas contributed to skepticism as regards the veracity of the larger Christian narrative.
Most scholars today maintain that Jesus’ birthday cannot be established with any degree of historical certainty. The common opinion is that Church leaders elected to celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25 in an attempt to displace a popular pagan winter festival.
Early Christian sources point to another possibility. Even in the third century, more than a century before any evidence that Christians celebrated Jesus’ birthday, ecclesiastical writers began to postulate March 25 as an appropriate date to mark the conception of the Son of God in womb of the Virgin Mary. Early theologians made these proposals in order to highlight the theological link between Jesus’ Conception and His Resurrection.
Find the rest of the article in the Zionsville Times Sentinel or in a coming issue of the bulletin ...