December 25?


Allow me to begin by mentioning that your servant is thoroughly annoyed.

I went to check the time and channel for tonight’s Hoyas game. I discovered to my chagrin that the game will be broadcast on exactly zero t.v. channels.

We live in a world of thousands of channels. We live in a world where channels grow on trees. There are entire channels dedicated to sub-species of Cajun cuisine.

fiuAnd yet the (potentially) epic contest at the Verizon Center this evening will not be broadcast on any of these countless channels–not a single one!

Perhaps certain sports-network executives think that the Hoyas’ game against Florida International will not be very exciting, just because Florida International doesn’t really have any good players.

Best announcer on earth
Best announcer on earth

But these tall foreigners just might roar into Washington and make things interesting. If they do, I guess we will hear it on the radio (AM 570).

But who can really complain? Listening to Voice of the Hoyas Rich Chvotkin is actually better than being at the game!

Let’s move on to our main topic…

Was the Lord Jesus really born on Christmas?

First give a listen to the Christmas proclamation from the official datebook of the Church (the Roman Martyrology).

nativityFirst, the uncontrovertible fact: Jesus Christ was born. This much we know for sure.

Second, for the sake of argument, we are going to agree on this: Christmas runs from December 25 to January 6–i.e., for twelve days.

Therefore, even if there were no other evidence whatsoever, by simple mathematics we conclude: There is already a one-in-thirty probability that Christ was born on Christmas.

Next, let’s consider this: The time of year which includes the days from December 25 to January 6 has been kept as the feast of the Nativity of Christ for over a millennium and a half.

sunrise2Of similar antiquity is the reckoning of March 25 as the date of Christ’s conception. March 25 was marked also as the date of the creation of the world, the liberation of the Israelites from slavery, and the crucifixion of Christ. For centuries, March 25 was kept as New Year’s Day. If Christ was conceived on March 25, then he would certainly have been born on or around December 25.

The counter-argument always turns on the idea that some pagan celebration of the winter solstice was “co-opted” by Christians as the birthday of God.

The winter solstice is always between December 20 and December 23. Hopefully we have all noticed that the time between sunrise and sunset has already begun to lengthen, thanks be to God. In the ancient Julian calendar, the solstice was assigned to December 25.

For a full treatment of a great deal of relevant information, consult the Catholic Encyclopedia.

In my humble opinion, it makes no sense to doubt that the Lord was born on Christmas. ERGO: Christmas is the birthday of Christ! (also a holy day of obligation)

…Now that we have settled that…

Are you looking for the opening scene of Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet” set in a gas station?

Do you bite your thumb at me, sir?*

(*This feature inspired by a loyal P&BD reader.)

2 thoughts on “December 25?

  1. Just for argument’s sake, is that anything like the parental “because I said so!”

    The clip is hilarious! I think I will watch it over and over tonight, so I can avoid sub-species of cajun cuisine.

  2. You know, yesterday I wasn’t thinking about the conversation that went on at RCIA last week. This exact topic came up. It was proposed that Jesus was actually born in the spring based on clues, like lambs being present, but that it was celebrated in the winter to counteract the pagan holiday to which you referred. I can’t speak about the clues because my ignorance would be very apparent, very quickly.

    Personally, the whole mystery of not being absolutely sure if the 25th is Jesus’ actual birthday, adds a certain dimension to Jesus’ humility. His birthday, after all, is all about us, sinners that we are. And, as a good mutual friend says “We Catholics are all about the mystery. We thrive on mysteries.” As a matter of faith, it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is “First, the uncontrovertible fact: Jesus Christ was born. This much we know for sure.” So I will echo your statement “In my humble opinion, it makes no sense to doubt that the Lord was born on Christmas. ERGO: Christmas is the birthday of Christ! (also a holy day of obligation)”.

    “God Bless us, everyone!”

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