The Incredible Blessings of Christmas (and debunking the claims that it’s pagan)!

SUMMARY: At Christmas many people around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus. There are quite a few incredible blessings that come celebrating the birth of our Messiah and King on this earth. Christmas focuses our minds on the time when God became man and lived among us as Immanuel. Angels and many godly people celebrated his birth in the Bible with great joy. According to research, Christmas is also actually the best time of year to reach people with eternal life according to research, and to gather the most donations to help God’s work of many kinds. It also makes family and community bonds stronger and has brought peace to many conflicts. It is one of the best times to work to relieve the suffering of hurting people and to bring justice for the oppressed, looking for the time when God will end all suffering and pain.

Some allege that Christmas originates from pagans, or glorifies materialism, etc. There are certain distortions like this that some have followed. Many have unfortunately told their kids that Santa is real, but this damages trust in parents, influences dishonesty and sometimes causes false comparisons of Santa with God and loss of belief.

However, in most major areas, the majority of biblical/historical evidence shows that it was actually pagans that plagiarized Christian celebrations of Christmas that started much earlier. They also celebrated the Dec. 25 date long after Christians celebrated it and that date has significant biblical and historical evidence. So in fact, the major foundations of Christmas in history are based on Bible concepts and Christian customs based on logic and have enormous benefits for humanity. Christmas is one of the most important times of the year when we can focus our minds on Jesus who sacrificed life in a perfect heaven to live in our world of sin and suffering to save we who were lost. Shouldn’t His example be an inspiration to us to be willing to give up some of our comforts and luxuries to and sacrifice to save those who are still lost? That is one of the most significant essences of Christmas.
———————————————————————————————————–

As I grew up, as most kids do, I looked forward to Christmas celebrations every year. Anticipating and opening the presents was exciting, and it was nice to now people cared to try to buy something meaningful. But I’ve now forgotten most of them. Far more important were making memories with my immediate family, relatives, church family, the celebrations, music and dramas at church that pointed our minds to Jesus’ life and spiritual lessons to learn from that, as well as ingathering for people in need and doing what we could to help those who were suffering.

REASONS WHY CHRISTMAS MATTERS
Why is Christmas valuable to celebrate? There are at least 5 reasons I can think of why Christmas matters a great deal, but I’m sure there are more.

To be clear, there is no Bible claim that we must celebrate Christmas and it is not a sin if people don’t celebrate it, especially in some cultures where it is not commonly celebrated.

But in some cultures, it is one of the greatest opportunities to point minds to Jesus and to do a great deal of good. Since the Bible tells us to do, “always do good to each person and all people.” 1 Thess. 5:15, this can be one of those opportunities to do great good and it’s possible that certain people would never take the truths of Jesus seriously if we don’t use this opportunity to celebrate His birth and life. Here are some reasons which you may not have thought of why Christmas matters.

WHY CHRISTMAS MATTERS #1
ANGELS AND GODLY PEOPLE CELEBRATED CHRISTMAS, GOD WITH US, IN THE BIBLE
Some people challenge the celebration of Christmas by saying that there are no celebrations of Christmas in the Bible. But is that true?

I believe that if we consider Christmas to be the celebration of Jesus birth, the arrival of the long awaited Messiah who is our Immanuel, as it is celebrated by Christians around the world, that there were were at least 7 celebrations of Christmas in the Bible and should have been many more.

1) Mary’s magnificat: Luke 1:26-38, 46-55. First, Mary celebrated and broke out into a joyful song of celebration that God had chosen her to be the mother of the Messiah. You could say this was a pre-celebration, but one looking forward to Jesus’ birth.

2) Elizabeth & Zechariah: Luke 1:39-45. In another pre-celebration, Elizabeth and her yet unborn child John, celebrated the knowledge that Mary would give birth to the Messiah..and Zechariah certainly joined in.

3) Angels: Luke 2:8-14. Angels appeared to shepherds, saying “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people” and “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” (v. 10/14). The angels couldn’t contain their excitement about this wonderful news and just had to celebrate. That was the first Christmas celebration right at the time of Jesus’ birth.

4) Shepherds Luke 2:16-20. The shepherds hurried to see baby Jesus and after seeing him told everyone about the angel and Jesus (v. 16). “The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.” (v. 20).

5) Simeon Luke 2:25-35. 28 The prophet Simon “took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,…I have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared for all people. 32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”

6) Anna Luke 2:36-38 The prophetess Anna celebrated. “She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.” (v. 38)

7) Wise men: Matt. 2:1-12. The wisemen followed a star that guided them to the newborn king and gave him gifts.
10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. “

There should have been an 8th celebration of that first Christmas by the Jewish religious leaders, the whole Jewish nation and the whole world. But many were blinded by pagan deceptions. There were especially three:

1) The Jews expected that all the prophecies of the Messiah would happen in one period of time. They didn’t conceive that God could fulfill them at different times, during his life, throughout Christian history and at the 2nd coming.

2) They listened to skeptical questions and did not follow the majority of evidence. Everyone acknowledged that Jesus was a powerful teacher of God’s word, pointing people’s minds to God. Everyone also acknowledged that Jesus was doing supernatural miracles. Jesus’ life fulfilled so many prophecies that were known and studied well. There was definitely enough evidence, sufficient evidence (which constitutes proof according to dictionaries and Ellen White) that Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus himself said:

“But if I do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me.” John 10:38

3) Ellen White says:

” Through heathenism, Satan had for ages turned men away from God; but he won his great triumph in perverting the faith of Israel. By contemplating and worshiping their own conceptions, the heathen had lost a knowledge of God, and had become more and more corrupt. So it was with Israel. The principle that man can save himself by his own works lay at the foundation of every heathen religion; it had now become the principle of the Jewish religion.” DA p. 33

Because they were looking so much to themselves and earning salvation by works, they missed the Saviour who would save them by grace through faith. They had a false concept of salvation and so missed the Messiah.

Do we have false conceptions of Jesus’ life, truth and ministry in some areas? How many will miss Jesus’ 2nd coming because they have a false concept of salvation (see an article and links to others on being sure of salvation here)

3) Ellen White says:
” Through heathenism, Satan had for ages turned men away from God; but he won his great triumph in perverting the faith of Israel. By contemplating and worshiping their own conceptions, the heathen had lost a knowledge of God, and had become more and more corrupt. So it was with Israel. The principle that man can save himself by his own works lay at the foundation of every heathen religion; it had now become the principle of the Jewish religion.” DA p. 33

Because they were looking so much to themselves and earning salvation by works, they missed the Saviour who would save them by grace through faith. They had a false concept of salvation and so missed the Messiah. We should be careful to not make the same mistake.

WHY CHRISTMAS MATTERS #2:
PEOPLE ARE MORE OPEN TO FAITH/GOD AT CHRISTMAS:

Research shows that Christmas is the time when non-Christians are more open to visiting a church and considering the truths of God than at any other time of year. If this is the time when they are most receptive, and our mission is to win souls (Matt. 28:19-20), shouldn’t we take advantage of this time as much as we can?

“At particular points in life, people are more open to considering matters of faith, the survey found. The Christmas season is the most common time for people to be open to spiritual matters. Nearly half (47 percent) are more open to considering matters of faith at Christmas. Americans are also open to matters of faith during the Easter season (38 percent), after a major national crisis such as 9/11 (38 percent), after a natural disaster (34 percent) and following the birth of a baby (28 percent).
https://lifewayresearch.com/2009/03/23/americans-open-to-outreach-from-churches/

Who do you think wants to close this opportunity for as many as possible? That of course would be Satan. So is it an accident that Christmas is being portrayed as pagan, against nearly all the historical evidence? I suggest it is not. It is a double con deception.

WHY CHRISTMAS MATTERS #3:
CHRISTMAS BONDS FAMILIES, CHURCHES & ALL LEVELS OF SOCIETY

Christmas is a time that bonds families together, increases peace and various other practices that are crucial for societies to thrive long term. It bonds church families, in celebrations, but especially as they work to relieve the needs of suffering people and doing all the good they can. It also helps bring all levels of society, from rich to poor, from citizens to immigrants and minorities, closer together as they focus on Jesus, and do acts of kindness for one other.

In A Chicken Soup for the Soul, a story is told about an unknown street urchin who sees a shiny new car on Christmas Eve, owned by a man names Paul. He asks,

“Is this your car, Mister?” he asked.

Paul nodded, “My brother gave it to me for Christmas.”

The boy looked astounded. “You mean your brother gave it to you, and it didn’t cost you anything? Gosh I wish. . .”

He hesitated, and Paul knew what he was going to wish. He was going to wish he had a brother like that. But what the lad said shocked Paul.

“I wish,” the boy went on, “that I could be a brother like that.”

Paul looked at the boy in astonishment, then impulsively added, “Would you like a ride in my new car?”

“Oh, yes, I’d love that!”,

After a short ride the urchin turned, and with his eyes aglow said, “Mister, would you mind driving in front of my house?”

Paul smiled a little. He thought he knew what the lad wanted. He wanted to show his neighbors that he could ride home in a big automobile. But Paul was wrong again.

“Will you stop right where those steps are?” the boy asked. He ran up the steps. Then in a little while, Paul heard him coming back, but he was not coming fast. He ‘was carrying his little polio-crippled brother. He sat down on the bottom step, then sort of squeezed up right against him and pointed to the car.

“There she is, Buddy, just like l told you upstairs. His brother gave it to him for Christmas, and it didn’t cost him a cent, and someday I’m gonna give you one just like it; then you can see for yourself all the pretty things in the Christmas windows that I’ve been trying to tell you about.

Paul got out and lifted the little lad into the front seat of his car. The shining-eyed older brother climbed in beside him and the three of them began a memorable holiday ride.

That Christmas Eve, Paul learned what Jesus meant when He said, “IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE…”

Jesus was a brother like that, a brother to all humanity, one who came to pour out God’s richest treasures on all of us, to enable us to live the destiny that the God of the universe designed for us to live. He asks us to imitate Him and be a brother like that to all who we meet and look for how much we can give to and improve the lives of others.

WHY CHRISTMAS MATTERS #4
PEOPLE ARE MOST GENEROUS AT CHRISTMAS & ENABLE CHURCHES TO RELIEVE MUCH SUFFERING
People give more donations to churches at Christmas and organizations that help the suffering than at any other time of year. The majority of money that many churches and aid ministries receive comes in in December, around Christmas time. It’s impossible to find any other time of year where people are more generous and giving to those who are less fortunate. Research shows:
“about 35 percent of donations occur in the last 3 months of the year, with about 18% occurring during the month of December according to Blackbaud. While there are many reasons for contributions to take place towards the end of the year (such as tax deductions) a major reason people give then is to help the less fortunate at Christmas.”
https://www.needhelppayingbills.com/blog/35-percent-charitable-giving-2016-occurs-christmas/
https://www.worldvision.org/about-us/media-center/survey-majority-americans-donate-charity-end-december

Again, who do you think wants to cut off funds to the work of God’s church, helping the suffering and the work of the gospel? That would be the enemy of God. This is another double con deception.

This along with the generous giving spirit of Christmas enables churches to do an enormous amount of good at this time of year. And nothing can do more good than biblical churches as even atheist researchers like Dr. CNAAN are admitting.

See a little of the research from Dr. Cnaan here: https://www.haloproject.ca/toronto-report/

WHY CHRISTMAS MATTERS #5:
CHRISTMAS INSPIRES WORK AGAINST INJUSTICE
Christmas points people’s minds to a God who came to live with us, Immanuel. This Jesus gave up all his privileges in heaven to identify with people living enduring some of the most severe injustices in history. In His very first known sermon, He said that a major focus of His mission was to free people from oppression and injustice of various kinds.
“The Spirit of the Lord…has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of Jubilee.” Luke 4:18-19 NLT/TPT

Jesus also was the “I AM” of the Old Testament (John 8:58) who constantly emphasized in over 2,000 verses like this that godly people must protest against injustice and see that justice is done for the oppressed.

Because of this Jesus’ life transformed society and inspired nearly every major type of human rights progress in history. See a list of some of the many human rights Christians pioneered based on inspiration from Jesus here.
http://blog.truth-is-life.org/rights/bible-rights/

Rene Girard, a former atheist at Stanford, says that Jesus’ story was radically different from every heroic story of its time. Jesus chose poverty and disgrace, spent his infancy as a refugee, lived in a minority race under a harsh regime and died as a prisoner. From the very beginning, Jesus took the side of the underdog: the poor, the oppressed, the sick, the “marginalized”. His crucifixion, Girard concluded, introduced a new plot to history: the victim becomes the hero by being a victim which introduced a student of Girard’s called “the most sweeping historical revolution in the world, namely, the emergence of an empathy for victims.”

Jesus in the New Testament, but especially in the Old Testament constantly advocated for the rights of the poor, the oppressed, and those suffering from injustice. Many scholars have shown that Judaism and Christianity have pioneered all the major human rights, more than all other sources COMBINED. The Bible tells us that greed will cause terrible times in the last days (2 Tim. 3:1-5, Revelation 18, etc.). So the last thing the super greedy rich oppressors of humanity want people’s minds to be drawn to is Jesus, the one who raises up people to protect the abused and to oppose agents of injustice, the God who has inspires countless human rights movements to uplift the oppressed. Claiming that Christmas is pagan, is one ideal way to draw people’s minds away from the God who claims that He is the defender of the oppressed.

Belief in God, confidence in eternal life and studying the Bible to learn about the God who constantly defends the oppressed are crucial for justice and relieving suffering. It’s also difficult/impossible to get large numbers of people to live with justice and equality without this. So Christmas is the best time to bring more people to God and to change life on earth as well.

WHY CHRISTMAS MATTERS #6:
Christmas reminds us that God gave all for us!

The whole treasures of heaven were poured out in one Gift to save fallen man. He brought into His human nature all the life-giving energies that human beings will need and must receive. Wondrous combination of man and God! {Lt11-1887.17}

WHY CHRISTMAS MATTERS #7:
Christmas reminds us of prophecies.

Jesus’ birth influences us to think of the prophecies made about the Messiah.

Their fulfillment is one of the strongest proofs that Jesus is the Messiah!

I’m sure there are other benefits of Christmas as well, but that’s for another article :)!

—————————————————————
IS CHRISTMAS CHRISTIAN OR PAGAN?
—————————————————————
In recent years at the Christmas season, many well meaning people claim Christmas was borrowed from/plagiarized from pagan religions/festivals. Summarizing a lot of people’s claims on this, they say things like:
“Christmas is a pagan feast, borrowed and plagiarized from Saturnalia and it replaces the feasts of God. It is just another kind of Babylonian fornication and real Christians won’t compromise with paganism in this way.”

But is that true? Let’s “Test everything that is said.” 1 Thess. 5:21 as the Bible says. And let’s also look into why this matters in practical ways.

Below I will share strong evidence from the Bible, objective scholars and historical facts that the major aspects of Christmas are actually based on evidence from the Bible or logical reasoning from Christians who wanted to point people’s minds to the birth of Jesus our Messiah, King and Saviour.

Shemaryahu Talmon, Professor Emeritus in the Bible Department at Hebrew University in Jerusalem says,

“Christmas was celebrated Dec. 25 prior to any pagan celebration on the same date.”

Dr. David Gwynn, lecturer in ancient and late antique history at Royal Holloway, University of London, says:

“The majority of modern scholars would be reluctant to accept any close connection between the Saturnalia and the emergence of the Christian Christmas.”

But in addition, the evidence strongly suggests that not only is Christmas not a pagan holiday, most scholars say that it was pagans that plagiarized Christmas from Christians, not the other way around.

It is true that there have been harmful compromises with pagan customs in some cases in Christian history and Christians must avoid these. But it’s also true that atheists and misguided Christians sometimes allege that Christianity borrowed from paganism or some custom is pagan, when that is not actually true.

For example, atheists frequently claimed that Jesus resurrection and many details of his life were plagiarized from pagans. But this claim has been debunked. And I will show below that the argument that Christmas is borrowed from paganism has also been debunked.

IMPORTANT CONCERN
There are some customs that have become common at Christmas that are pagan or secular or distortions and can do harm. One of these is Santa. There was a real saint Nicholas who some evidence shows was very generous in trying to help families out of economic slavery and saved them from having to sell their children into slavery by secretly giving them bags of gold, an act of godliness, compassion and a huge act of fighting injustice. But culture has morphed him into a highly materialistic mythical being who magically delivers presents to all children, if they’re good. This has several problems.
1) It eliminates the positive example of saint Nicholas being generous to the suffering as we should be.
2) It makes people focus on materialism and what we can get instead of what we can give.
3) It distracts minds from Jesus, the real miracle and gift of Christmas.

There’s something else that is even more important though. Many parents tell their children that Santa is real for years. But later they grow up and find out he is not real. This has several harmful effects:
1) This Christian has listed 5 reasons why parents shouldn’t make false claims that Santa is real to their children.
https://www.biola.edu/blogs/good-book-blog/2014/why-you-shouldn-t-tell-your-children-that-santa-claus-is-real

2) Some studies are showing that if parent’s lie, including about Christmas, it can be harmful to children.
“parents’ lies may have a detrimental effect on a child’s behavior. A small MIT study on six- and seven-year-olds found that when an authority figure omits the truth, it may cause children to suspend their trust or be suspicious of anything else that authority figure says in the future. An experiment from the University of California, San Diego found that when children ages five to seven are lied to, they are also more likely to cheat and then lie in return.
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/psychologists-think-your-lies-about-santa-will-damage-your-kids_n_5835d898e4b01ba68ac3e3a7

https://www.happilyfamily.com/tell-your-kids-the-truth-about-santa/

3) In some cases, when children found out that Santa and other things their parents told them were not real, they extrapolated to think that God also is not real. Many thought that if their parents claimed Santa was real and he wasn’t, then maybe their claim that God is real is also fake. There are quite a few real tragic cases of this and many atheists now equate God with Santa, the Easter Bunny, fairy tales, etc. Here’s one:
“Santa, The Easter Bunny, and God were all magical friends on my side through thick and thin…[When I found out my parents] had been lying to me for 10 years about this Santa guy to get me to act a certain way, I had to be a moron to believe that God was real too.”

My family never ever in any case claimed that Santa was real. My dad once in a while dressed up as Santa, but we all knew it was him.

I personally never even told my daughter the Santa story or anything else fictional. I stayed strictly with true and inspirational things, and things that made good family memories. Because my daughter knows that I always tell the truth to the best of my ability, she knows she can trust me in all other areas that we talk about too.

I would strongly advise that parents never use any kind of deception with kids. Don’t compromise on truth ever, not even at Christmas.

Now let’s go through some of the evidence that Christmas is based on Bible principles, Christian traditions and good logic as well as some of the research about why it’s such a valuable celebration.

EVIDENCE #1: CHRISTMAS ORIGINATED WITH CHRISTIANS
Michael Jones cites many historical sources showing that Christmas just did not originate from pagan customs. Christmas Is Not Pagan–part 1 and 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ca_Yx3aMCiE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfcvJWPTY64

He has a longer discussion of the historical facts here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlgGHZBFH38

EVIDENCE #2: CHRISTMAS ORIGINATED WITH CHRISTIANS, NOT FROM SATURNALIA
Some people allege that Christmas was copied from pagan festivals like Saturnalia, or that Christians tried to mix and replace Saturnalia with Christmas. But there are many serious biblical and historical problems with this claim.

PROBLEM A: Dr. Jonathan Sarfati explains that pagans did not celebrate pagan festivals on December 25 until ~70 years after Christians started doing that. Is Christmas Based on Pagan Traditions? (~minute 4-7)
https://creation.com/media-center/youtube/is-christmas-based-on-pagan-traditions-creation-magazine-live-7-24

Augustine’s sermon 202 says the Donatists in north Africa celebrated Christmas in 311 and it was certainly being celebrated long before he mentioned it. This is evidence that Christmas had origins long before Constantine’s efforts to harmonize the feast days of Roman religions and Christianity and would point towards origins from within the church, not the society. Toward the Origins of Christmas by Susan K. Roll books.google.co.kr/books?id=6MXPEMbpjoAC&pg=PA151 (see pg. 96)***

Dr. David Gwynn, lecturer in ancient and late antique history at Royal Holloway, University of London, says:
‘The majority of modern scholars would be reluctant to accept any close connection between the Saturnalia and the emergence of the Christian Christmas.’ Devout Christians will be reassured to learn that the date of Christmas may derive from…nine months of Mary’s pregnancy following the Annunciation on March 25th [which] would produce a December 25th date for the birth of Christ.”
www.historytoday.com/matt-salusbury/did-romans-invent-christmas

PROBLEM B:
Saturnalia did not occur on December 25 and had nothing to do with the birth of any god or anyone else. Historians show that Saturnalia was celebrated between Dec. 17 and completely finished by Dec. 23, and it would make no sense for Christians to have a holiday AFTER that date if it was their purpose to replace it or get people away from that holiday. That makes no sense whatsoever. Furthermore, historians say there is no evidence that Christians at this time were trying to compromise with pagans. They were being persecuted and killed by them and were trying to avoid contact and corruption from them. It was only centuries later that they made compromises as scholars have shown.

PROBLEM C:
Whatever month the early Christians might have otherwise chosen would still place Christmas near some pagan celebration, and the fallacious critics would still be making the same claims, ignoring the actual known historical dates and that Christmas started earlier than these other known holidays that are near Dec. 25.

PROBLEM D:
Andrew McGowan (no insignificant scholar) wrote in an article for Bible Review (Dec. 2002; reprinted in Bible History Daily, 12-3-17):
“[E]arly Christian writers never hint at any recent calendrical engineering; they clearly don’t think the date was chosen by the church. Rather they see the coincidence as a providential sign, as natural proof that God had selected Jesus over the false pagan gods. It’s not until the 12th century that we find the first suggestion that Jesus’ birth celebration was deliberately set at the time of pagan feasts…But we don’t have evidence of Christians adopting pagan festivals in the third century, at which point dates for Christmas were established. Thus, it seems unlikely that the date was simply selected to correspond with pagan solar festivals.
http://epiphanyoftruth.com/is-christmas-pagan/

EVIDENCE #3: CHRISTMAS ORIGINATED WITH CHRISTIANS, NOT FROM SOL INVICTUS
It is true that there was a feast to Sol Invictus (the Unconquered Sun) on December 25, but the earliest evidence for it dates from the mid to late 4th century, long after Christmas was established. There is no evidence Christians compromised to follow this or any pagan festival. Actually, the evidence shows that pagans were probably jealous of Christians and tried to plagiarize Christmas from them. The scholar Thomas Talley says that,

“It is more likely the Roman Emperor Aurelian placed Sol Invictus on December 25th to compete with the growing rate of Christianity.” and quite a few other scholars agree. See esp. the “Is Christmas Pagan? (Part 2) from 6:00+ for more on this. Is Christmas Pagan (part 2)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfcvJWPTY64

POINT #4: THE DATE OF CHRISTMAS IS BASED ON BIBLICAL EVIDENCE
Many claim that the date Dec. 25 was borrowed from pagans. But this is not true. Shemaryahu Talmon, Professor Emeritus in the Bible Department at Hebrew University in Jerusalem says, “Christmas was celebrated Dec. 25 prior to any pagan celebration on the same date.”

Scholars have studied and found that there are a couple possible dates for the conception and birth of John and Jesus. The Bible tells us that John was conceived after Zechariah served in the temple and that Jesus was conceived 6 months later. The problem is that we don’t know for certain when Zechariah served. Two dates are most likely.
1) John was conceived in Sivan (~June) and born in Nisan (March). Jesus was conceived in Kislev (~December) and born in Tammuz (September). This site has a good overview of both, but thinks the above date has the best evidence.
Christmas Day: Was Jesus really born on December 25th?
https://hebrew4christians.com/Articles/Christmas/christmas.html

2) John was conceived in Tammuz (September) and born in Sivan (~June) . Jesus was conceived in Nisan (March) and born in Kislev (~December).
This site lists good evidence for this:
Christmas Day: Date revealed by Levite calendar & celebrated through the ages!
https://myemail.constantcontact.com/Christmas-Day–Date-revealed-by-Levite-calendar—celebrated-through-the-ages-.html?soid=1108762609255&aid=TQxxxPQ0v4E

Both have evidence and both have deep spiritual meaning.

Here’s some evidence from the Bible and history for the birth of Jesus on or near Dec. 25.

FACT #1: The Bible tells us that Zachariah was a Jewish priest and that we was serving in the temple for a week when his order was on duty (Lk 1:8-9).

FACT #2: The angel Gabriel appeared and said that he and his wife a son who would prepare people for the coming of Jesus (Luke 1:11-18), which Zechariah at first doubted and was struck dumb.

FACT #3: When his week of service in the temple was over, he returned home and soon after Elizabeth became pregnant and praised God (Luke1:23-34).

FACT #4: Luke then tells us that God sent Gabriel to Mary in the 6th month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy and announced that God had chosen her to be the mother of the Messiah, that the Holy Spirit would cause her to conceive and she would raise the Son of God (Luke 1:26-38). Mary humbly agreed to follow whatever God’s will for her was, and then went to visit Elizabeth.

Several scholars who are experts on the time of the Jewish priests and their times of serving in the temple have found research that pinpoints when Zechariah was serving. They say that Zechariah was on duty in the last week of September. Certain other scholars think his date of duty are different and have some evidence for those dates (see the Hebrew4Christians link above for some of that).

EVIDENCE #1: The early tractatus De solstitiia records the tradition of the Archangel Gabriel appearing to Zachariah in the High Temple when he was serving as high priest on the Day of Atonement (Lk 1:8). This placed the conception of St. John the Baptist during the feast of Tabernacles in late September,

EVIDENCE #2: Shemaryahu Talmon, Professor Emeritus in the Bible Department at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a leading expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls published a careful study of the Temple’s rotating assignment of priests [1 Chr 24:7] and the Qumran scrolls related to assignments during New Testament times. His work gives significant evidence that shows that Zachariah served as a Temple priest in late September.

EVIDENCE #3: Josef Heinrich Friedlieb stated in his 1887 book, “The Life of Jesus the Redeemer” that the priestly class of Abijah would have been on duty during the second week of the Jewish month Tishri, which is the week of the Day of Atonement or in our calendar, between Sept. 22 and 30.

This site has more detailed explanations of this:
https://myemail.constantcontact.com/Christmas-Day–Date-revealed-by-Levite-calendar—celebrated-through-the-ages-.html?soid=1108762609255&aid=TQxxxPQ0v4E

EVIDENCE #4: Dr. T.C. Schmidt from Yale and others have done a lot of research showing these facts:
“scholars like Yale University’s T.C. Schmidt are finding the marking of December 25 to go much earlier in the Christian history. When translating Hippolytus’ Commentary on Daniel, written just after AD 200, Schmidt notes that five of the seven manuscripts contain December 25 as the date for Jesus’ birth and another offers the 25th of either December or March.4 Clement of Alexandria in this same time offers the date of March 25 as the date of the incarnation, that is the conception of Jesus, in his Stromata (1.21.145-146).5 “
apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2015/12/no-christmas-is-not-based-on-pagan.html

So this evidence indicates that Elizabeth conceived John the Baptist near the end of September. 6 months later would be the conception of Jesus, at the end of March, which was also the Passover celebration. 9 months after that would bring us to the end of December. So Jesus was very likely born on or near Dec. 25.

There is good biblical and historical evidence that indicates that there are two strong arguments for the birth of John and Jesus. Both have very deep spiritual meanings:

DATE A:
John the Baptist was conceived shortly after Zachariah’s service in the Temple (Luke 1:23-4) in late Sivan (June). This is when Jews celebrate Shavuat and God giving His word, the Torah on Mount Sinai more than 3,300 years ago. John was born around Passover on Nisan 15 (late March). The Jews have always expected Elijah to come at Passover and herald the coming of the Messiah who would be sacrificed as the real Lamb of Passover and Jesus said that John the Baptist was a type of Elijah the prophet (Matt 17:10-13, cp. Luke 1:17).

Jesus then would have been conceived in December near Chanukah at the festival of Lights and born near the day of atonement and the festival of Tabernacles. This would symbolize that Jesus is the light of the world and the light of the first spark of life at conception and that God came to atone for man’s sins and dwell among men.

DATE B:
1) John was conceived after Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the year and Sukkot, near the feast of tabernacles (both in September) and born in Tammuz (June/July). So John was born to herald that the real Day of Atonement had come with the Lamb of God and that God had come to tabernacle, or live with man.

2) Jesus was conceived 6 months later than John around the time of Passover (March) and born near Chanukah, the festival of lights, in December .

3) Jesus’ conception near Passover in March points to His mission to sacrifice for our sins. His birth at Chanukah in December points to Jesus as the light of the world!

So it’s very likely that Jesus was either conceived or born in late December. Either way the dates point to important spiritual insights about His mission to save humanity from sin! And that’s a good enough reason to celebrate His birth and Immanuel, God with us!

EVIDENCE #4: MOST (but not all) CHRISTMAS CUSTOMS ORIGINATE FROM CHRISTIANITY AND POINT TO JESUS
Many Christmas customs originate from Christianity. But in later times, a few customs were brought in that were pagan or secular, such as Santa for example. But pretty much all the Christmas customs I celebrate have strong Christian origins (I don’t btw, use Yule logs or Mistletoe).

  • Evergreen Trees were the symbol of eternal life. Martin Luther introduced them to the Reformation Church as a picture of our endless life in Christ, by bringing in a tree to his family on Christmas Eve lit with candles (Isaiah 60:13).
  • Candles are a picture that Christ is the Light of the world (John 8).
  • Holly symbolizes of the thorns in His crown (Matthew 27:29).
  • Red is a color of Christmas that speaks of Christ’s blood and death.
  • Gifts are a reminder of the gifts of the Magi to baby Jesus. Each of them refer to a part of His incarnation: Majesty in life, Bitterest Agony in Death and He as Gods Perfect gift to us (Matthew 2).
  • The Yule Log  connects to Jesus’ Cross. The fire was started with a fragment from the previous years [this refers to the eternal existence of Christ before His birth] log. It speaks of warmth, unity, joy and the security of endless life. ***
  • Mistletoe was an ancient [Roman] symbol under which old enmities and broken friendship were restored.  So Christ was the One who took away the enmity and gave us Peace with God (Romans 5:1Romans 8:1).
  • Bells are associated with ringing out news. Christ is the good news, the best news of all.
  • Christmas Eve is a time when we remember that Christ came in the darkest night of Earth’s need to be the Light of the World.
  • Shepherds who were watching lambs for use as sacrifices in the Temple, were the first to hear the great news that the Lamb to end all sacrifices had appeared.
  • Christmas Pie is an old tradition that uses a Mince pie with various spices to remember the spices of the Magi. For centuries it was made in a manger shape. 
    http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/the-origin-of-christmas-traditions-and-christs-birth-1457395.html


There are definitely certain secular or pagan customs that have tried to infiltrate this holiday, like Santa and the commercialization and more. But we don’t give up creation because of secular deceptions like Darwinism, and shouldn’t give up Sabbath because of pagan deceptions like Sunday. So why should we abandon Christmas for secular deceptions when it has so many historical foundations in biblical and Christian history?

EVIDENCE #5: MOST OF THE BEST CHRISTMAS SONGS ARE CHRISTIAN AND POINT TO JESUS
Most of the best Christmas songs also originated with Christians and point people’s minds to Jesus, His incarnation on this earth and His redemption of people from the slavery of sin. Here are some of the better ones.
https://www.countryliving.com/life/entertainment/g29668955/religious-christmas-songs/

CONCLUSION
The claim that Christmas is based on pagan ideas has no basis in the Bible and is a betrayal of the historical facts. In actual fact, it was pagans who plagiarized several major concepts of Christmas from Christians. The enemies of Christianity, especially Satan as the worst deceiver, now are spreading deceptions of all sorts to deceive and harm as many as possible. They spread the lie that Christmas is pagan because:

1) They want to block the greatest opportunity that Christians have to reach non-believers who might be open to God’s truths, which research shows is Christmas.

2) They want to cripple the funding of Christian churches, help for the suffering who oppressors are exploiting and the spread of the gospel.

3) They don’t want people they are exploiting to be rescued from injustice and their oppression. Christianity points minds to the God who is the origin of all human rights and has relentlessly fought on the side of the oppressed.

So one of the best things Christians can do to promote God’s truths, encourage more donations to help the oppressed and spread God’s gospel and to stop injustice is to celebrate Christmas, which points to the God who invented and pioneered all these blessings and desires them for all people. So don’t listen to the ignorant naysayers whose arguments are based on fallacies. Celebrate Christmas with godliness and joy and use it to promote God’s truths and work for justice for those who are less fortunate than we are.

Read more in part 2 about how Christmas has crucial connections to justice in our world.

Experiencing how God’s truth energizes life!