Updated: Jan 28
Let me first state that what I write here now is abbreviated. I write more deeply about this in my book The Star of Bethlehem: The Timing of the Life of Jesus. Everything written in Scripture (in particular that found in Matthew 2:1-12 and Luke 1 and 2) is true; but having the wrong perspective means the truth can be misconstrued. That is where logic become the dial for focus, so the truth can unfold clearly.
First, everyone gets so hyped up about December 25 being the timing of Jesus' birthday party that they miss the obvious. The Hebrew calendar equivalent would be the month of Kislev, with Hanukkah rooted in 25 Kislev, 164 B.C. That is also called the Festival of Lights or the Festival of the Dedication; but being in the dead of winter says that would not be when Jesus was born, simply because the Son of God would not be associated with worldly death, the timing of winter. Jesus' birth would be relative symbolically to eternal life and the light he was [and still is] to the world.
Logic says this: The days are short and the nights are long in late December. Joseph was one of all who were told to register for a census, told to register in the place where they were born. Since Joseph no longer lived in Bethlehem, he would have been forced to travel to register. He would not travel during a season when the days were short and the nights were long. The weather in that region is also less conducive for long-distance travel during the winter.
The Roman overseers would not make registration for a census immediately mandatory. A whole year would be allowed for that to take place. Certainly, those who lived where they had been born would have been the first to register. Those who had to travel to register would have planned that travel to meet other times when travel was necessary and opportune. For Jews who were born near Jerusalem, natural travel to that area was routine during the three times of festival, which occurred in early spring, late spring, and end of summer, early fall. Joseph would have registered then, because we are told: "Every year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover." (Luke 2:41)
Logic then says that Jerusalem would be swollen with pilgrims, all of whom planned the same travel to Jerusalem each Passover festival [et al]. During the Festival of Lights, there would be plenty of available rooms at the inns, because that was not a God-commanded event. Passover, meaning the two months stretching from before Passover began, until the Shavuot festival (Pentecost), would be a time when all available inn space would be reserved and taken by pilgrims.
Logic then says Joseph had family that lived near Jerusalem, with whom he and Mary could stay while they were in town for the Passover-Shavuot period. We are told of the two on the road to Emmaus (7 miles west of Jerusalem), with Clopas [aka Cleopas] being the brother of Joseph, married to Mary the aunt of Jesus, sister-in-law of Mary the mother of Jesus. It becomes logical Joseph and Mary would stay there, with Bethlehem only 10 miles away (3 miles southeast of Jerusalem).
Logic then says Joseph would have waited until the last of his stay near Jerusalem, giving Mary time to have the baby and have the baby registered at the same time. When the baby had not been born, the last Friday would be when Joseph loaded Mary on a donkey and walked her to Bethlehem to register. It was a planned "day trip." They left the donkey in a cave stable and then walked to the registration office and registered the two of them, with Jesus not yet born, so unable to be registered. During the walk back to the cave stable Mary's water broke. She was in labor, but there was no room available for her. Because Joseph had paid to stable his donkey, that was where Mary was taken. It is also where midwives would gather to assist her in her childbirth.
Logic then says a sixteen year old virgin, pregnant with her first child, does not "drop a load" quickly. She was in labor for about twenty-four hours, which took the father and mother to a Sabbath morning, when the Sun was high in the sky. That would be the perfect time for God's Son to be born. God planned for His Son to be born when the days were long and the nights short. God planned for His Son to be born on His day, made holy. God planned for His Son to be born when the light of day was high overhead (between 11:00 AM and noon). God also planned for His Son to be born on the forty-ninth day of the Counting of the Omer, as the birth of His Son would represent the First Fruits that would become Christianity. [Note: Jesus would also ascend to heaven on this day of the year, also on a Sabbath, and also when the Sun was high in the sky.]
Logic says the Magi would have calculated the birth of the "king of the Jews," which would have been indicated by a clear natal chart that signaled that importance. Logic then says, "If Gabriel appeared before Mary and Joseph and the shepherds, God would have then sent that angel to the astrologers in Persia [conquered Babylon], who were descendants of Daniel, and make sure they knew the astrological chart they marveled over was foretelling the birth of the promised Messiah." The Magi would have then also been told they had to go anoint the infant as the High Priest of the Tabernacle. The use of gold, frankincense and myrrh are then relative to that used to anoint such a Levite. [Gold as a baby's crown or breastplate, with scented oil to mark his forehead, and incense to burn for all present to inhale.]
Logic then says the Magi would have known when this birth would have taken place and they would have planned a trip to arrive in Jerusalem prior to that birth. What they did not plan for was the festivals between Passover and Shavuot making it impossible for them (as foreigners not Jews) to enter the city, forcing them to wait until the end of the Shavuot morning services to gain entrance. They would have petitioned Herod the Great [his officers controlling his meetings] for an audience and waited until allowed to see him. Logic then says this meeting would have occurred on Monday, the day after Shavuot ended and after the pilgrims had left town. Meeting with Herod around 7:30 AM would then allow them time to meet and then leave for Bethlehem, reaching that town at about the same time of day Jesus was born, two days after his birth.
Logic then says with Shavuot over [late Sunday morning], all the available rooms became open and Mary and Jesus were moved from the cave stable into a room then. This would have happened as soon as possible, knowing Mary had just given birth and needed to be made as comfortable as possible, along with baby Jesus and Joseph. This says they would have moved into a room a little more than a day after Mary gave birth. In between, on the evening of the day of birth, the shepherds would have come to visit the family in the cave stable.
Logic then explains Matthew 2:10, which states: "When they saw the star, they were overjoyed." The "star" was the Sun, which was not only high overhead (" After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was." - Matthew 2:9), but heavenly change had occurred. With the Sun rising in the sky as the Magi went to the southeast of Jerusalem, a new astrological chart was cast when they reached Bethlehem. The chart was recalculated into an electional chart (an event chart of their arrival time), for them to see if this late arrival was acceptable for their purpose to anoint a king [ala Samuel did David]. The phenomenal chart they had seen as much as a year before then had the Moon join with the major configuration, symbolizing greater meaning that confirmed the divinity of the birth in Bethlehem. That revelation was emotionally overwhelming to the Magi, because they were divinely led astrologers.
Finally, logic confirms this birth time of the 49th day of Passover. In Luke is written: "Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary." (Luke 1:26-27) The "sixth month" is the Hebrew month of Elul, which is the equivalent to the Roman month stretching from August to September, also equivalent to the zodiac sign when the Sun is in Virgo [the sign of the Virgin]. When nine months is added to that timing of impregnation, the birth due date would be stretching from May to June. That is the equivalent to the Hebrew month of Sivan and the zodiac time when the Sun is in Gemini. Every year Shavuot (Pentecost) occurs on 6 Sivan. That then says Jesus was born on 5 Sivan, in a year when that date fell on a Sabbath.
Knowing the actual birth date for Jesus does not mean Christians should scrap the festival of lights they worship, which is a totally misguided concept of going deeply into debt, pretending those who have money are born royalty, because they believe a baby named Jesus was born. Christmas in December represents the darkness everyone is born into, where the purpose is to be born into the light of Christ. The winter solstice is called "three days dead," due to the seeming stop of the Sun's motion. Three days of death makes December 25 more a time of the death of one's ego, which must happen before anyone can be reborn in the name of Jesus Christ - the true meaning of the Christmas we have been trained to know. A Christmas on December 25th is then a reflection of the death of Jesus, his placement in a tomb, and his resurrection eternally as the Christ, all of which must be relived by a soul born into the death of a body of flesh. Christmas in December symbolizes our death and rebirth, because the truth does not fit Jesus' birth.
As long as Christmas is about decorating trees with lights, lying about Santa Claus, elves and reindeer at the North Pole, focus on expensive gifts of things given and received, and thinking God's Son would be born into that world of darkness [pagan-Gentile rituals, which includes Jews who do not know God, through His Son], then the world of sin still exists and God is a fairy tale less and less believable. Only when one's heart is opened to receive God within [become His bride and wife], so one does as God Commanded [as stated by Jesus] - loves God will all one's heart, all one's soul, and all one's mind - can one be divinely impregnated by God, so one gives birth to His Son reborn, with that reborn Son being YOU, regardless of what sex organs you possess in the flesh.
Christmas must become the day YOU were born in the name of Jesus Christ. That date of birth can then be seen as when YOU became a Saint on the face of this planet, just as was Jesus, sent by God to lead others into marriage with Him. Being reborn in the name of Jesus Christ is relative to all true Christians, so the collective can nail December 25th as the calendar date to recognize when Jesus came to save a lost soul.
R. T. Tippett