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It is a useful spiritual exercise to think about the how and when and why of the events surrounding our Lord’s birth. There is always enough evidence for those who wish to believe.
Even though we cannot precisely answer this question, it matters because Jesus Christ entered the history of our world. Francis Schaeffer spoke of “upper story” and “lower story” truth.
As we approach Christmas this year, it is good to remind ourselves that nowhere does the Bible command us to celebrate Jesus’ birth.
If the first Christians knew the precise year and day when our Lord was born in Bethlehem, they didn’t make an issue of it.
Yet it was inevitable that his birth would be remembered.
That doesn’t mean the question is unimportant, only that it is not essential to our Christian faith.
It describes the moment in history when all things were in place, when all the pieces were on the board, that one moment when the stage was perfectly set.
At that moment, not earlier and not later, God sent forth his Son.
The fact that we don’t know the precise day and year makes the subject all the more interesting.
I would further suggest that Christianity has nothing to fear from the facts of history.
When the time came to take the census in Israel, it is just possible that a compromise was made to take into account Jewish custom. It was during those turbulent, bloody final years of Herod’s reign that Augustus ordered a census taken of the entire Roman Empire.