June 20, 2021

Merry Christmas, Stephen

Stephen talks about when Christ was really born over at Y Safle.  Certainly the shepherds weren’t out grazing their sheep (and sleeping with them!) in the middle of December– which is also cold over in Israel.

We don’t have an exact day, and I think that is deliberate. Some writers try to tie up Christ’s birthdate with a Jewish festival, but if the date was meant to be significant, I think we would have been told it.

The fact of the matter is that we are not told an exact date, but we might as well be celebrating Christmas on December 25th as any other day.

Supplying his bright intellect and common sense, Stephen’s been an encouragement, a defender of the faith, and definitely one that stands in the gap (even if we don’t always agree on something!).  Merry Christmas, Stephen.  Looking forward to reading more from you in the new year.

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5 thoughts on “Merry Christmas, Stephen

  1. Hopping over to Stephen’s to see when he thinks Christ was born…:O) I knew the shepherds were in the fields from April to Sept or so, so would it have been April?

    Merry Christmas to Stephen!

  2. Hi Mary,

    April is certainly possible – but shepherds would also be in the fields in the autumn. The Palestinian winter runs from mid December to mid March. All the guides say that winter can be severe. Snow is certainly possible in Bethlehem, and lowest winter temperatures recorded have reached -2 Celsius or so. But note that the lowest temperature recorded in September is a balmy 12 Celsius, and even October has not seen temperatures below 7 Celsius in recent times.

    This being the case, there is not a strong reason to favour April over October. Indeed we cannot completely rule out the winter. It seems likely in periods of cold weather that sheep would be housed indoors. Indeed the “stable” that Jesus was born in may well have been
    little more than a cave used for sheltering livestock.

    Now Bethlehem is some 2,500 feet above sea level, and is built on the top of a hill. Another point worth considering is that the weather is more temperate in the valleys below cities such as Bethlehem, and that it may have been the practice of shepherds to move flocks down the hillside to lower winter pastures to spare them the worst of the winter climate (even though sheep are in fact quite hardy).

    Thus I don’t think it would be unreasonable to suggest that shepherds might be found on the hills with their sheep at any time in the winter, although clearly this is less likely than other times of the year.

    I don’t suppose this helps much! sorry!


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