Book: Christmas: The Greatest Story Never Told

A great and important event occurred nearly 2000 years ago in ancient Palestine. It was the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. We have all heard of the story told in the gospels. Joseph and Mary had gone to Bethlehem at the decree of Caesar Augustus. “...And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem ... to register himself with Mary, who was betrothed to him as wife, and was great with child” (Luke 2:1-5).

We remember, of course, there was no room at the inn; they spent the night in what we would call a barn, and there Mary gave birth to Jesus. His bed was a manger filled with hay.

Out of town, in the open fields around Bethlehem, shepherds were spending the night with their flocks. As the shepherds watched their flocks, suddenly they saw angels appear in the sky, and “ angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shined round about them; and they were seized with great fear. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I am announcing to you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people; for today, in the city of David, a Savior was born to you, Who is Christ the Lord. Now this is the sign for you; you shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger’ ” (Luke 2:8-11).

This is the story of Christ’s birth. Those shepherds rejoiced that night, so we should also rejoice because Christ, the Messiah, the Savior was born—that same Christ through Whom we have salvation!

What Day Was Christ’s Birth?

When did this event take place? The actual date can only be estimated (Write for our booklet, When Was Jesus Christ Born?). While people all over the world commemorate His birth on December 25th, one thing we can know for sure is that it WAS NOT in winter. The Bible states in the Song of Solomon 2:11, and Ezra 10:9&13, that winter was a rainy season not allowing shepherds to remain in open fields at night. The evidence of the shepherds in the field shows it could not have been during the cold, rainy season of December and January.

From the Adam Clark Commentary, Volume 5, page 347, we learn “[i]t was an ancient custom among the Jews of those days to send their sheep to the fields and deserts about Passover (early spring) and bring them home at commencement of the first rain.” The authority continues, “during the time they were out, the shepherds watched them night and day, as ... the first rains began early in the month of Marchesvan, which answers to part of our October and November (begins midOctober), we find that the sheep were kept out in the open country during the whole summer, and as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields by night. On this very ground, the nativity in December should be given up.”

This is a profound statement of truth. Nevertheless, it seems that the majority of people are willing to ignore the facts. In all too many cases, when they do stumble onto the truth, instead of believing it, they just get up, dust themselves off and continue to believe all the same old myths and fables they have always believed—content in their deception.