3. Jesus’ Birth Came after 400 Years of Silence from God
Not only was the birth of Jesus a miracle, but it was viewed by those who believed as the first sign from God in centuries. The last of the Old Testament prophets was Malachi, and he lived about four hundred years before Jesus. During that in-between period, the people of Israel assumed that God had turned his back on them.
God had been very present and involved with his people ever since he brought them out of Egypt. Then, seemingly for no reason, God stopped speaking to the people through prophets. It is this context that made Jesus’ claims to be the Messiah even more wonderful for some, and even more far-fetched for others.
4. Joseph Could Have Had Mary Killed for Adultery
Before the angel Gabriel appeared before Joseph to confirm Mary’s story, that she had conceived a son via the Holy Spirit, Joseph also believed that she had slept with another man. He viewed her as an adulteress, and the penalty for adultery in the Jewish law is death (Leviticus 20:10).
Joseph, being a righteous man, chose to divorce her in secret so that her life would be spared, and both of their reputations could be salvaged. However, if Joseph were not a decent man, he would have had every right to sentence her to death.
5. Jesus Was Probably Not Born in December
While Christmas has been celebrated on December 25 for nearly 1700 years, Jesus was not actually born in December. In fact, he was not born in winter at all! In the year 336 AD Emperor Constantine established Christmas to be on the winter solstice, which is December 25.
The winter solstice was a common time for pagan holidays, as they celebrated the sun being out more. Many think that Constantine decided on Christmas being around this time to distract people from pagan holidays and to focus more on the celebration of Christ’s birth.
Jesus may have been born in the spring, probably around March or April. Luke 2 describes the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks at night. While many shepherds would often live out in the fields with their flocks year-round, it is likely that they would be out with their flocks because their sheep would be giving birth to lambs, which happens mostly in the spring.
Another thought is that Jesus was born in the fall, due to ways of calculating John the Baptist’s birth, and then assuming that Mary gave birth three months later. Based on the evidence in the text, there is no clear answer as to what exact time of year Jesus was born.