Christmas has been an exciting time in witnessing Frank’s spiritual growth as well. I am falling deeper in love with this man pursuing God with such fervency. I’m delighting in the research he’s been conducting ever since hearing the Scriptures this past Sunday regarding the census when Jesus was born.
Through his studies, Frank found a few articles that propose theories of Christ’s birth and its timing.
We all know that December 25th was not the actual birth date of Christ. Rather, we celebrate it in remembrance. Constantine wanted to focus on Christ rather than the pagan holidays. He thus declared that we should celebrate Christ’s birth now. Perhaps it was some sort of missionary evangelism Constantine was trying to set forth. We can’t be too sure why he did it except that it was to focus the hearts of the people on Christ rather than the pagan rituals occurring at this time of year.
Anyways, I digressed a bit. Frank found articles that proposed Christ would have been born on Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of Atonement, as suggested through Kepler’s orientation of the stars and when the wise men would have possibly seen The Star of David. Other articles suggested that Christ was born on the Jewish celebration day of Sukkot. It was a pilgrimage festival when the Israelites would travel to the Temple in Jerusalem. There they had a willow festival in which willow branches were piled at the altar and the people parade around the branches worshiping. Sukkot, in Hebrew, actually means Tabernacle.
The above birth date proposals are theories regarding the birth date of Christ. In fact, these celebrations are roughly around the same time, being about 5 days apart or so. We aren’t sure of these proposals. As I said before, they are merely theories. However, I like both. This reveals the connectedness of God to his people and his immensely perfect timing. You see, Jesus (Hebrew: Joshua = God saves) was the perfect and sufficient sacrifice (atonement) for humanity’s sins. If Christ was born this day it would be a foretelling of his purpose, to reconcile humanity unto God and be our Savior. If Christ was born on Sukkot it would be like God saying, “Here I am dwelling with you in flesh, I go with you where you go. I am Immanuel.” It would reiterate that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh. God was in the Tabernacle and that is where his people, especially those who were permitted behind the veil, would see God. So with Christ as the human Tabernacle, humanity could encounter God and by his death on the cross, there was no longer a need for the veil. The willow branch ceremony is reminiscent of the palms laid before Christ as he entered Jerusalem on a donkey.
He loves us enough to have humbled himself to usher peace (the symbol of riding on a donkey vs. a horse), even knowing he was going to his death.
If either of these theories are true it would solidify just how amazing our God is. It would emphasize God’s perfection and his perfect timing. A birth on either of these days, just like the symbolism of the Passover reveals Christ as the sacrificial Lamb, would indicate God’s role in the organization of time. If either was true, it would reveal God’s constant prophecies given to his people about the Messiah, himself in Christ Jesus.
We can know no greater love than a God who would write a story with such keen attention to detail. So while they are theories I think they are beautiful. These suggestions simply point to how great God’s love is. Christ’s love is eternal and how remarkable would it be if either of those theories were true to demonstrate just how intricate and complex this eternal love is.
*Thanks Frank for sharing these articles with me and causing me to love God more. I have an insight into how vast the possibilities of God’s love can extend through these mere theories.*