Christmas is one of the most-celebrated holidays in the world. Especially in the U.S. Christians and non-Christians alike celebrate this holiday, and through centuries of secular influences, common knowledge of the holiday and its purpose has waned. Here are four things you might not have known!
Jesus Was Probably Born in Autumn
It wasn’t until the second or third century (A.D.) that Jesus’ birthday began to be celebrated in December. Biblical evidence points to a different timeframe for the Savior’s birth, however. One of the major arguments for a birth month in early autumn is the depiction of the shepherds in their fields (Luke 2:8), which would have been highly unlikely if Jesus had been born in December. Shepherds at this time only tended their flocks in pastures until early October.
Another major argument is the timeline that can be determined by John the Baptist’s birth. Since his father, Zechariah, was a priest and was serving at the time he was foretold of Elizabeth’s conception, John’s birth date can be more easily mapped out. Since Mary went to visit Elizabeth when she was six months pregnant, there is further support for Jesus’ birth occurring in the fall.
The 12 Days of Christmas START on Christmas Day
When the 12 Days of Christmas song starts playing on the radio in November, and the Christmas season is flooded with secular takes on the holiday, it may come as a surprise to some that the real 12 days tradition begins ON Christmas Day. The 12 days of Christmas are primarily celebrated in Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian traditions and culminate on January 6th with the feast of the Epiphany.
The 12 Days of Christmas Carol Probably Isn’t a Coded Christian Message
If you did know anything about the 12 Days of Christmas, you might have heard that the carol itself was a coded way for early Christians to practice their faith despite persecution. In this version of events, “My true love” is God and each round of gifts represents some element of Christianity. While whoever came up with this notion matched the gifts convincingly with Christian faith, there isn’t much of a case for proving that this rumor is true. Nonetheless, as a present-day Christian you can still apply the faith-based ideas for your own memorization if you want to.
The Three Wise Men Took a Long Time to Reach Jesus
Wherever the wise men came from in the East, if they began their journey upon seeing the star on the night of Jesus’ birth, it would have taken them a while to get to Him. When they did arrive and were questioned by Herod about when they saw the star, his decision to kill infant boys aged 2 and under indicates they might have seen the star up to two years before. That means that they probably weren’t peeking over shepherds’ shoulders in the nativity scene.