The children are taught to wait expectantly for a jolly fat man in a red suit who streaks through the sky in a sleigh pulled by reindeer. Many are reminded that this gala event is intended to celebrate the birth of God's son, and Savior of mankind, Yeshua (Jesus - which is a Greek variation of His name). Thus, the churches are filled to overflowing, with those who regularly keep the faith, and those who use this as their annual pilgrimage for a religious experience.

Each of us has grown up with this annual event in different ways. For the Jewish population it is looked upon as a disruption in their lives. They do not accept Yeshua as the Messiah hence have no reason to celebrate His birth. It creates an uncomfortable situation for their children who do not receive Christmas presents, as do most of the other children. For many, it is a period of great sadness and it is a peak period of crime and suicide. For the majority, it is a gala event with happy children, great food, and a pile of bills to be dealt with later. To the Jewish believers in Yeshua that keep this day it is a denial of the Jewish heritage of Scripture. It is widely known in most theological circles that December 25th is not the birth date of the Messiah.

The Bible does not clearly tell us the date of the birth of Yeshua, but it does clarify the season. If we study with conviction and commitment the scripture, and historical events that surround the Messiah's birth, we can determine with a few calculations, and a small margin for error, the date of his birth.

First, the Book of Luke 2:8 tells us the shepherds were in the fields with their flocks. In Israel, shepherds would be in the fields only from spring to mid-October. They were not in the fields in mid-December therefore Yeshua could not have been born at that time.

Secondly, Luke 1:23-24 also tells us approximately when Elizabeth conceived John "The Baptist". Zacharias, John's father, was a priest, whose term in the Temple is known from historical accounts counting back from August 5, 70 CE when the Temple was destroyed. According to these records, Zacharias would have ended his duties on June 13, 8 BCE, and departed for his own house a short distance from Jerusalem. Based on these events, John was conceived shortly after Zacharias returned home. If, the birth of John took place the usual 252-280 days later, he would have been born between March 23rd and April 20th in the year of 7 BCE. This March/April time frame coincides with the season of Passover that year, which agrees with the Word of God and His use of the Moedim, (which is Hebrew for Festivals or Set Appointed Times) in conjunction with great events.

Thirdly, Luke 1:26 tells us that when Elizabeth was in her 6th month, Mary was visited by the angel who told her of her "virginal conception." The time of Mary's visitation was once again during one of Our Father's Moedim or Festivals. It was the festival of Chanukah, also known as the Feast of Dedication or the Festival of Lights. How appropriate for Mary to conceive the Messiah, the "Light of the World", during the "Festival of Lights". This means Yeshua was born 9 months from Chanukah, and no more than six months, after John "The Baptist". Therefore, His birth was most likely between September 15th, and October 20th. Once again we find ourselves right in the middle of our Father's Appointed Times, the fall festivals of Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), and Sukkoth (Feast of Tabernacles).

The exact day on the Gregorian calendar is not known for sure, because of the many discrepancies between it and the Hebrew calendar. However the exact day of the Messiah Yeshua's birth has long been known on the Hebrew calendar. That day is Tishri 15, the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles. The Bible gives us many clues, and paints a glorious picture as to why He was born on this day. The theme of Sukkoth is "the season of our joy", which is referenced by the angelic announcement of Luke 2:10 "I bring you tidings of great joy which shall be to all people". This verse also alludes to the Feast of Nations, which is still another name for Sukkoth. During the week of Sukkoth, 70 bulls were sacrificed one for each of the 70 nations of the world. As a result all nations were to be blessed and receive great joy. In John 1:14 it says "and the word was made flesh and tabernacled among us". Yeshua is the Word of God, and a tabernacle is a temporary dwelling place, or a booth, such as the fleshly body. In Luke 2:12 the Greek word for "manger" and the Hebrew word "sukkah" both mean "enclosure". A further point that makes the Feast of Sukkoth so compelling is the future time when all nations will be required to pay homage to the Lord during the Millennial Kingdom. That time is Sukkoth (the Feast of Tabernacles). The significance of this feast is, not only the celebration of His birth, and the celebration of His return to Earth to rule and reign for a thousand years, but the ultimate and final fulfillment quoted in Rev 21: 3 concerning the New Heavens and New Earth, "Behold the Tabernacle of God with men! And He will tabernacle with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God". This festival falls between mid-September and mid-October each year.

There is some controversy surrounding the year of His birth. There is a plentitude of documented events in history that point to the 7 BCE time, but for the sake of brevity in this article I will address only a few. Historians place the death of King Herod in the March/April time frame of 4 BCE, shortly after an eclipse of the moon. There was an eclipse on March 13th of 4 BCE. The Magi (Wise Men) that came to worship the young child, Yeshua, arrived approximately 2 years after His birth. King Herod after learning from the Magi that they had come to pay homage to this child who was to become the King of the Jews issued an edict to kill all the children two years old and younger, in Bethlehem and the surrounding area. King Herod died shortly after that.

Fourthly, we can examine the reason Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem. The Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus had decreed "that all the world should be registered for census purposes in their hometowns." There was such a decree in 7 BCE, for Rome was on a twelve year census cycle. Because this required some to travel the most likely time to accomplish the census would be after the harvest, and before the weather turned bad. This again points to the early fall period. Since Joseph was from the line of David, Bethlehem was his place of registry. Upon their arrival there was no room at the inn for two reasons the census was taking place, and it was the beginning of the Feast of Sukkoth. Women and children were not required to stay in the Sukkahs, but the men were. More than likely Mary elected to stay in the sukkah with Joseph because her time was near. Another interesting fact about Bethlehem is that on the north end of town were the stables where the Passover lambs were raised. Could it be that the perfect Lamb of God, who was to be our Passover lamb, was born in one of those very same stables? Are you beginning to see the picture that God is painting, and the prophetic importance and significance that God has hidden in His Appointed Times?

Realistically, anyone who seriously studies the Bible is well aware that December 25th has absolutely no relationship to the birth of our Lord, and Saviour. So, why are we tangled up in all this hypocrisy? To unravel this mystery we must examine the events of history as they unfolded. During the early years the Messianic Believers observed all the festivals now observed by the Jewish faith. The teachers in the beginning were all Jewish, such as Matthew, Mark, John, James, Peter, and Paul. Paul was a well-trained Pharisee, and was, in fact referred to as a Pharisee of Pharisee's, who vowed in Acts 24:14 that he had always kept the Laws of the Torah (5 books of Moses), and taught the law in relationship to Acts 15, as a bases for non-Jews to begin their walk in the Lord. It is important to remember that the New Testament originated from the early church, and the early church originated from the Jewish form of worship and biblical understanding. What was it then that brought about this departure from keeping God's appointed times? What is the origin of December 25th?

It all started with Nimrod in Babylon. The Babylonians worshipped a sun god, and they devised rituals associated with the winter solstice. The shortest days of the year occur between the 21st and 27th of December. The birthday of the sun god's Mithra, Ra, and Tammuz to name only a few, all fell on the 25th of December. Their celebrations revolved around the rebirth of the sun, as it reached its lowest spot in the sky and began its ascent in the weeks and months that followed. On the eve of the 24th of December these pagans burned a Yule log in the fireplace, representing the death of the old sun god. Then, they would set up a green tree, highly decorated, representing the birth of the new sun god by the next morning. The term "Yule" came from the Chaldean language spoken in Babylon at that time, Ref 1. "The Two Babylon's" Author-Alexander Hislop, Published by Loizeaux Brothers Inc.

How did such a pagan celebration become the centerpiece of Christian festivals? The church did not celebrate Christmas until about *350 years after its beginning. It was the invention of a Roman Emperor named Constantine. He was a sun god worshiper and Judaism (which is what they called first century Christianity), was a thorn in his side. His goal was to destroy it. His perversion of the faith by combining it with Babylonian sun god worship has all but accomplished his goal over the last 1700 years. But God has always kept a faithful remnant in the earth to preserve the truth of his word.

* The first Christmas didn't happen until 354CE

The Bible tells us in Gen 6:5 that the heart of man dwells on evil continually. Is it any wonder then, that the sin nature in man consistently creates counterfeits of all the priceless treasures that God has freely given us, so that we might come into His presence and be blessed? Babylon is the counterfeit of Jerusalem, and the Babylonian Festivals and their celebrations are counterfeits of God's Festivals. Christmas, the Yule time on December 25th, and the fat man called Santa Claus are some of man's most successful counterfeits of the precious Jewels of God in today's society. In Jeremiah 10:2, God tells us to "Learn not the ways of the heathen". Just because we call a pagan festival by another name, and claim it for God, does not make it any less wrong. "A rose by any other name is still a rose" and "Sin regardless of how you camouflage or dress it up is still Sin".

Today many hold to the belief that it does not matter when we celebrate the birth of the Messiah, as long as we celebrate it. This mind-set defeats the importance of Messianic prophecy and fulfillment. The birth of Yeshua at the Festival of Sukkoth foreshadows the Torah, the seventh millennium, and the kingship of Yeshua from Jerusalem. In the seventh millennium it will not be Christmas that we celebrate. As is written in Zechariah 14:16-19 "And it shall come to pass that everyone that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles". If Yeshua, the Messiah is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13: 8) and if the first century Christians, including Yeshua, celebratedGod's Feasts, and we will be celebrating them in the future millennium before the very same Messiah, then how can we justify not keeping them today?

These are important pictures to treasure in our hearts. If Yeshua's birth and return on a festival of the Lord is important to God, it should be important to us, regardless of the world's traditions. Paul tells us in 2 Cor 6:17-18 "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean (thing) and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty".

The mystery of Christmas is not the date, time, season, or fashion in which we celebrate the birth of the Messiah. All of these things are written in His word, for all those who would "earnestly study to show themselves approved to God, a workman unashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" 2 Tim 2:15. The Real Mystery of Christmas is how we have strayed so far from the truth with all the signs and wonders and all that is written... causing believers to miss the wonderful blessings that our Father has waiting for us on His Appointed Times.

"He that has an ear let him hear "...the truth in the word of God. Revelation 13:9
"...As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15