Birthdays! We all know our birthday, that special day when we were born. Our parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents know it; family and friends come and celebrate with us that special day—our birthday! How much more does it stand to reason that God knows when his Son was born and that date has been made known to the entire world. Some skeptics and pundits, even in church circles, try to debunk the specific birthday of Jesus and even point to another time of the year. For the last 1,700 years, the twenty-fifth day of December has been celebrated as the birth of Jesus, and, in our times, billions of people will celebrate and honor December 25 as the day the Son of God was born. This is not by any accident or misguided information.
A simple statement from Luke 2:21 points to the twenty-fifth: “On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived” (NIV). The significance of this statement is truly profound and precisely informative if one only considers the division of time and how this division came to be. In the sixth century, a man named Dionysius Exiguus created the division of time into BC and AD.
Simply stated, BC is before Jesus Christ was born and AD (Latin for Anno Domini, “In the year of our Lord”) is after Jesus Christ is born. For Exiguus, the first day of the first month of AD 1 was the day in Luke 2:21. This is the day Jesus was “officially” declared Jesus—the day of circumcision. Under Jewish law, the babe could only be recognized with his Jewish name on the day of circumcision. Legally under Old Testament law, the babe became Jesus “on the eighth day” as Luke (the doctor) records. It follows then, that this day is our January 1 or New Year’s Day, and New Year’s Day is celebrated throughout the world in countries that follow the Gregorian calendar. The first day of the first month of the first New Year of Christ’s existence was AD 1/1/1, and all events forward are designated AD. All events prior to AD 1/1/1 are designated BC. Now, count eight days back from AD 1/1/1, and the date is 12/25/1 BC. Jesus was born on the equivalent of December 25 of 1 BC. Scholars try to point to Christ’s birthday between 4 BC and 8 BC, but they use a secular dating reference of Herod to arrive at their conclusion. They ignore the Luke 2 reference and the worldwide use, acceptance, and basis of BC/AD.
Another way to validate December 25 is to look historically at the Feast of Annunciation which has been celebrated by many millions on March 25 for the past several hundred years. This date was established centuries ago as the date the angel Gabriel visited Mary in Luke 1:26–38. Count nine months from this date, and December 25 becomes the day of birth. (As a side note, it is also held by many that the actual day of the cross fell on March 25 in AD 33.) The date of March 25 was calculated before the December 25 date, and it is believed that Exiguus used that date in his determination of BC/AD. Over 400 years would pass before BC/AD became widely used and accepted.
Unfortunately, skeptics and pundits today are attempting to change BC/AD to BCE/CE (Before the Common Era/Common Era), attempting to remove “Christ” from time designation. Thankfully, Christ Jesus, our Lord, can never be removed from time. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. He is the Root and the Offspring of David and the bright Morning Star! Let us celebrate December 25 as the birthday of our Savior, Priest, and King. Let us celebrate with gifts of peace, honor, and love—and give glory to God in the highest!
“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11, NIV).