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Jesus Christ was not born on December 25

The advertisements for Christmas-themed merchandise are already penetrating the media a good three months before the actual event.

Obviously, the emphasis is more on making a healthy profit from the season than actually remembering it as the birth of Christ.

A growing number of Bible scholars are concluding that Jesus Christ, or Yeshua, to give him his original, Hebrew name, could not have been born in the deep mid-winter, or December 25, as it would have been too cold in the hills of Judea, where Bethlehem is situated, to have shepherds out in the fields at night, as the Gospel story recounts. A September or October birth would seem more plausible, both coming at a milder time of the year.

There are Biblical clues that verify these claims, including the birth of John the Baptist, who was Yeshua's cousin and who was born six months before him.

In I Chronicles (24:10) in the Old Testament, John's father's priestly cycle of Abijah is listed as being on the eighth week of the Hebrew year and from this point we can calculate nine months, arriving at Passover, an 'appointed' feast.

Both the special births of John and Jesus were predicted in scripture to be at the "appointed time", which in Hebrew is the word 'moed', meaning an appointed feast or holy day.

It would appear that John was born "at the appointed time" on the first day of Passover. Exactly six months later, Jesus would have been born in September/October time on the Feast of Tabernacles, or 'Sukkot' in Hebrew.

There will be much glitter and overspending as the festive season approaches, but it is not the appointed time when the Saviour was born.

COLIN NEVIN

Bangor, Co Down

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