Friday, April 16, 2010

Celebrating Jesus' Birthday (April 6)

In spite of the western tradition of celebrating Jesus' birthday in December, it takes only the simplest bit of thought to realize that He was not really born in the middle of winter. The most obvious indication of this is that according to the Bible the shepherds were "abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night." Shepherds did not typically stay out in the fields all night, they usually went home to bed. (I'm not certain whether or not the sheep stayed out, but she shepherds definitely did not!) The only times when shepherds would stay out with the sheep all night was during lambing, so that they would be there to attend to birthing sheep if necessary, and to keep predators away from the newborn lambs. This fact narrows the time of Christ's birth to either spring or autumn, and I know people who believe each way.Additionally, I have heard the theory that (in spite of the census-taking that year) it is unlikely that every inn in the city would be full unless the timing coincided with one of the major Jewish holidays--in this case probably Passover (spring) or Feast of Tabernacles/Rosh Hashanna (autumn). I lean toward spring, since part of the celebration of the latter holiday involves living in a tent ('tabernacle') for 40 days to commemorate the Israelites' time in the wilderness, and if everybody was out in tents then I suspect there would have been room in the inns of Bethlehem.
The common belief in our faith (due to statements from several church leaders, though never officially stated as doctrine to my knowledge), is that Christ was born on April 6. Since spring seems the most likely season for His birthday, I figure it's as good a day as any to celebrate.

I like birthdays, partly because they are an excuse to make cake!So we made a birthday cake with a big J on it for Jesus, and we all blew out the candles together. Then, before we ate, we went around the table and each said what we were going to give to Jesus as our gift to Him this year. We gave two kinds of gifts: gifts of improving our own righteousness (giving our hearts to Him), or gifts of serving others ("inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these, ye have done it unto me").
My favorite gift was when Bear said that he would "get on the edge of the couch so that [Eagle] would not roll off" ♥☺

I hope to make this a permanent tradition in our family.


Janeen said...

Our beliefs look at it being more in the fall, during the Feast. Not sure if all of them lived in tents during that time but I know this day and age, many stay in hotels during that week (it's an 8 day thing for our church).

Brandi (Maxfield) Morstad said...

oh I forgot to ask, do you still celebrate in December too?

Mommy Bee said...

Yes we celebrate a traditional Christmas in December...we just have a birthday party for Jesus in April. :)

Brandi (Maxfield) Morstad said...

fun :)

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