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This is a good recent blog post covering Pope Benedict's thoughts on the matter. The key is the date set for the annunciation (March 25th): Traditionally held to be the first day of creation Traditionally held to be the date when Abraham was to sacrifice Isaac after a 3 day journey to Mount Moriah Extrapolated to be the date of Jesus' annunciation (when ...


22

This is a fairly common question, and there is a very good answer. A detailed answer can be found here and here. These are some of the highlights. It is important to note that Luke mentions that the census to which he is referring is the first census taken while Quirinius was governing. This seems to indicate that at the time of writing, the readers ...


18

"Chronograph" 1 – a document dating to 354 AD 2 in Rome: This was a list of martyrs and their birth dates, and a list of bishops of Rome and their birth dates. The Chronograph lists these dates (birth dates) in calendar order. The first date listed is the "8th of Kalens of January" ("Kalens" is used to refer to the first of a month – putting a number in ...


16

Attitudes on birthdays In the early church, birthdays (in general) were not seen as something to celebrate. For example, in Origen's 8th homily on Leviticus he writes: But the saints not only do not celebrate a festival on their birth days, but, filled with the Holy Spirit, they curse that day. According to an article by Andrew McGowan (Bible Review, ...


15

One theory: It's not the easiest thing to follow, but The Star of Bethlehem has a very interesting hypothesis on the subject. The information is all there, especially in footnotes, but unfortunately it's not presented very clearly on the site itself... they want you to get the video.* The upshot is that the date is most likely 3BC, and maybe 2BC. You get ...


11

I don't want to plagiarize, but there is a very good Catholic article on this here. In summary, the significance of swaddling clothes lies both in the fact that it is humble, common, ordinary, and also that it ties to Solomon - specifically the Wisdom of Solomon 7, 3-6. 7:3 And when I was born, I drew in the common air, and fell upon the earth, which ...


11

She was probably between 13 and 14 years old according to the Catholic Encyclopedia in the section entitled "Mary's pregnancy becomes known to Joseph": From the age at which Hebrew maidens became marriageable, it is possible that Mary gave birth to her Son when she was about thirteen or fourteen years of age. No historical document tells us how old she ...


10

The exact day for the birth of Jesus is not known. You can find a lot of info on Wikipedia, with references. The most interesting for this question might be: The precise day of Jesus' birth, which some historians place between 7 and 2 BC, is unknown. In the early-to-mid 4th century, Western Christianity first placed Christmas on December 25, a date ...


10

The Catholic "tradition" is just that. It is not an official teaching or doctrine, but rather something one is free to believe. The Church does not take a physiological stance on whether or not Mary experienced pain during child birth. But to understand where this tradition came from, we have to go back to the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve sinned, God ...


10

That the wise men did not arrive until Jesus was a child and no longer an infant is derived from several Scriptures, particularly in Matthew. Matthew chapter 2: KJV 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. 9 When ...


9

Hah! She sounds like a wily one. I'm no expert in Feng-Shui (or your Aunt), but here are some relevant Biblical principles: Wisdom In Silence If a person is not truly interested in seeking/knowing the truth (e.g. a person who just wants to push their views on you), there is Biblical precedence for keeping silent. (Proverbs 23:9, Matthew 27:12-14) "He ...


9

Signs in tradition and scripture, can have two basic senses. In the first sense, they are often miraculous indicators of the speaker's trustworthiness, which encourage the listener to believe. In the second sense, they embody or represent a larger or more transcendent truth. The general formula for signs in my first sense is that the speaker first delivers a ...


9

The official Catholic doctrine on the matter is in accord with a commonly held belief among nearly all Christians that Jesus was conceived within a virgin, and that the process by which this occurred was a mystery and a miracle. The heresies of the Psilanthropists and Adoptionists are notable early exceptions, and modern criticisms of the doctrine come ...


9

In Catholic culture it comes from the Latin. "Festum Nativitatis Domini Nostri Jesu Christi" (the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ) and the shorter form, "Dies Natalis Domini" (the Birthday of Our Lord). From these Latin names most nations obtained their popular terms for the Christmas feast: "Il Natale" in Italy, "La Navidad" in ...


8

If you read the account in Luke 2:1-20, you'll find no mention of Magi at the manger, just shepherds. There, Jesus is born in Bethlehem. In Matthew 2:1-18, we find the Magi arriving at Jerusalem, from the scribes there they find out the scripture which places the Messiah in Bethlehem (2:5-6), and follow the star, which is low enough to appear over a ...


8

Not being familiar with the term "meridian of time" I clicked on your hyperlink and read the definition given there. While there are many terms Christians use today which are not in the Bible, including "the meridian of time," I can only suggest there is a term in the Bible which tells us why Jesus came when He did. It comes from Galatians: ὅτε δὲ ἦλθεν ...


7

As far as I know there is no proof of any certain date of Christ's birth. And it is only by tradition that we accept it as the 25th of December. Now I'm not one for following tradition for traditions sake, but according to this site a lot of the evidence that people provide to rule out December as Christ's birthday is not rooted in fact. I don't think the ...


7

Because both the Gospel of Mathew and Luke agree that the birth took place before the death of Herod (who died in 4 BC), historians generally assume Jesus was born around 5 BC or slightly before. Source: WikiPedia


7

According to Fredrick A. Larson, this so-called 'Star of Bethlehem' is actually the planet Jupiter. He produced a video documentary called (appropriately enough) "The Star of Bethlehem" that can be found on YouTube (link) and his website. In this video documentary, Rick Larson lays out a detailed case for the Star of Bethlehem being Jupiter, which includes ...


7

The Protoevangelium of James, an apocryphal Gospel probably written about AD 145, Says that Joseph used a donkey to bring Mary to Bethlehem The day of the Lord shall itself bring it to pass as the Lord will. And he saddled the ass, and set her upon it; and his son led it, and Joseph followed. Protoevangelium of James:17 So we know, that from very ...


7

The phrases you point out indicate to the Catholic Church that the Holy Spirit was responsible for Jesus' conception: The Annunciation to Mary inaugurates "the fullness of time," the time of the fulfillment of God’s promises and preparations. Mary was invited to conceive him in whom the "whole fullness of deity" would dwell "bodily." The divine response ...


7

According to this site, the first draft of the song actually had the words In the whiteness of the lilies he was born across the sea And then the final version of the song, which was first published in 1862 had the words In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea That same site references a book by Edmund Wilson entitled Patriotic ...


7

The earliest reference I can find is Justin Martyr (c. 100 – 165 AD) who wrote in Dialog With Trypho: But when the Child was born in Bethlehem, since Joseph could not find a lodging in that village, he took up his quarters in a certain cave near the village; and while they were there Mary brought forth the Christ and placed Him in a manger. (1)


7

This is a good question and has a simple answer. Nativity scenes are intended to be representations of Jesus birth, not a historically accurate depiction. In other words they are there to remind us of the important elements of the birth, not to be a photorealistic documentary. Therefore the shepherds, the wise men, angels are all included because they were ...


6

We Three Kings The verses to 'we three kings' are pretty wonderfully theological and wrap across most doctrines. The gifts symbolize aspects of Jesus' ministry and purpose. Born a King on Bethlehem's plain Gold I bring to crown Him again King forever, ceasing never Over us all to rein Gold is the gift to honor a King. It is offered in ...


6

I believe that Dr. Richard P. Bucher provides an excellent analysis of this question. Luke 2:1-3 specifically states the purpose of Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem (Roman census ordered by Caesar Augustus). And, from extra-biblical sources, we know that Augustus ordered a census in 27 BC, 8 BC, and 14 AD. So 8 BC seems the most reasonable answer ...


6

Extensive biblical and traditional material advocating for Mary's painless childbirth can be found from "The Virginity of Our Lady in Partu". Many Protestants reject this teaching, but most are unaware of it entirely. I don't know the status of this teaching among Protestant theologians. The image of light passing through glass seems to originate in the ...


6

The answer I think may be found by comparing it to that other song from the same general time period that says "He's the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star; He's the fairest of ten thousand to my soul." (i.e. The Lilly of the Valley). Its reference to Song of Solomon 2:1, "I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys."


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