(Note the differences in when writers say “the course of Abia/Abija” takes place. Which one is correct?)
It was certainly in the summer time that He was born, since the shepherds were out on the wilderness of Judea with their flocks and the season for pasturing in the open extended from Passover till October. Nor is more precise evidence lacking. Zechariah, the Baptist’s father, belonged to the Course of Abijah, the eighth of the twenty-four priestly relays that ministered each in rotation for a week, reckoned from Sabbath to Sabbath; and at that period the eighth Course’s “days of ministration” fell about the third week of May. It was then that Zechariah obtained the promise of a son, and Elisabeth conceived after his return home in the beginning of June. It was in the ensuing November that Mary conceived; and so it would be in August that she “brought forth her first-born Son.”
Our Lord’s Earthly Life, p.xii, author unknown (possibly David Smith) because pages are photocopied without that information included.
…it is unlikely that December 25th is the actual birth date of Christ. Various dates for Christmas even today are observed as Christ’s birthday by different Christian groups. Perhaps the most probable date, though no one really knows, is about September 29th. This was the first day of the great Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, when thousands of pilgrims from all over Israel would go up to Jerusalem to dwell in small “tabernacles” or booths, commemorating their wilderness wanderings and anticipating the coming kingdom when God Himself would “tabernacle” with men (note Revelation 21:3).
This would have been a good time for the Roman census, with the weather still warm, most of the harvest in, and people traveling anyway. Shepherds would still have their flocks in the field, whereas none of this seems at all likely in the winter time.
This same date was later celebrated by Christians as Michaelmas (meaning “Michael sent”), Michael being the great archangel of God. It seems reasonable to suppose that this observance could have had its origin in the coming of Michael and the angels to announce the birth of Christ to the shepherds (Luke 2:9-14).
It is at least very interesting that, if one counts back 280 days (the normal period of human gestation) from September 29th, he arrives at the previous December 25th. And then he realizes that the great miracle of Christ’s Incarnation was not His birth, which was a normal human birth in every respect, but rather the miraculous conception, when the Holy Spirit placed that “holy thing” in the womb of the Virgin Mary! (Luke 1:35.)
Henry Morris, from the booklet, Christmas: Pagan or Christian?
The winter birth is based on the Biblical account of the shepherds tending their sheep, which were pasturing close to the walls of Bethlehem instead of farther out in the fields as during summer months. With the city full due to the census, the only refuge Mary and Joseph could find was a stable.
“The stable is best described as a cave where animals were kept, not a man-made structure. The manger, probably made of wood, was where straw and food were placed for the animals, thus it made a soft bed for a baby,” Aling explained.
Ailing sides with the theory [about the star] in a book written by John Williams at the University of Chicago in 1871.
“The Chinese were known as night-sky watchers who kept a detailed book of sightings. Two events in the book explain unusual sightings at the time of Christ’s birth. Comet No. 52 was in the sky for 70 days during Mar. and April, about 5 B.C., and moved in a westward direction. Comet No. 53 appeared in Mar. and April around 4 B.C., and hovered,” Aling said.
Article interviewing Dr. Charles Aling, professor of history and chair of the history dept. at Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN. Article has no information as to its origin or date.
Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, p.132
There is also the possibility of a Hanukkah-Christmas connection. Hanukkah is celebrated on the 25th of Kislev, the Jewish month that corresponds with December. Could it be that early Jewish believers in Yeshiva (jesus) wanted to connect Hanukkah and the birth of the Messiah, and eventually that desire was transposed into the 25th of December? After all, Hanukah commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem, which Jesus applied to Himself when He said, “Destroy this Temple and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19).
Jews for Jesus Newsletter, December 2000
Is there any real evidence that Jesus Christ was born at Christmas? A careful examination of a number of seemingly unrelated Bible passages gives clear indication that the Lord Jesus was indeed born at Christmas time. Such study will give new emphasis to what Christ came to do. It will also provide a much deeper appreciation of all that is hidden in the Word of God which can be discovered by those who prayerfully search the scriptures.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
Isn’t it natural that the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world would be born when all the other lambs are born?
Oh, and did you know that the Magi weren’t there until quite a while after Jesus’ birth? In Matthew 2:11, the Magi come to a house, where by now the family has found shelter. Looking back at vs. 7 Herod found out the time the star had appeared, and then in vs 16 has all the children 2 yrs old and under killed, based on the time he was given by the Magi.