Amanda Read, in an article titled “The day the Star stopped: Understanding Christmas,” published in the Washington Times, has an interesting suggestion on the reason Christians observe December 25th as the day to celebrate the birth of Christ and to give gifts to special people.
The following is a brief excerpt from Read’s article:
Christian historian Sextus Julius Africanus (ca. A.D. 180 – ca. A.D. 250) is said to have been the first to claim that Jesus was born on the 25th of December. It turns out that Africanus might have had Jesus’ birthday confused with another prominent event in His life – the visit of the Magi, scholars and astronomers from Babylon who likely were intellectual descendents [sic] of the prophet Daniel.
In her article, Read explains how the star guided the Magi to Bethlehem and why Jesus was conceived, not born, in December.
Read presents several arguments to prove her point, but I am not convinced. To me, her argument is based on too many presuppositions and on what I consider to be a superficial interpretation of the evidence.
However, it is possible that I might be wrong. If I am, I will be glad to change my mind if I can be convinced that her argument is based on a solid foundation.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary