The question occasionally arises around Christmas, as to when the exact date of Christ's birth is. I prefer not to touch on the subject during the Christmas holiday season. The reason being, that it's a deeper study that dosen't change much about Christ, His sacrifice or His divinity but will certainly be cause for much negativity during this time of celebration for those who refuse to cast away tradition for the truth which Christ himself claims, in doing so, "will make you free". The freedom comes from losing the traditions of men which, make void the Word of God. In addition to the freedom from vain traditions which serve man, through this study, we gain a deeper understanding of our Father's desire for us to know His will, where we should align ourselves politically and a comprehension of the perfection of God's complete plan for salvation.
I prefer to study this in the Book of Luke because unlike John, this Gospel includes Christ's pre-natal and pre-ministerial periods. Luke, being a physician, describes things from a doctor's point of view, utilizing modern medical terminology which has it's earliest roots in this very Gospel. This entire study begins and ends in the first chapter of Luke, the-"Light Giver's" Gospel.
Lets begin our study in verse 5.
The verse begins by explaining that Zacharias was a Levite High Priest. The High Priests of the Levitical priesthood served 24 - one week courses twice a year. Zacharias is serving the one week (Sabbath to Sabbath) levitical course known as Abia. The course of Abia was the eighth course which began on June 13th and ended on June 19th. His wife Elisabeth was of the line of Aaron, the Priest line, as all full blood female descendants of Aaron married Levite Priests.
In verse 6 we find that they both were blameless in all their ways, living according to God's instruction prescribed within the Law and the Prophets.
Verse 7 indicates that Elisabeth was quite old and barren, even childless. This is undoubtedly mentioned for the purpose of showing that God was responsible for this amazing conception.
Now, in verses 8-17 we are shown that the message delivered by the Angel Gabriel pertaining to his wife Elisabeth's conception was delivered to Zacharias while he was carrying out his Levitical service during the course of Abia.
In verse 15, we are given a hint as to what will shortly transpire regarding the presence and magnitude of the Holy Spirit within John. We are told that John would be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb, meaning before his birth. If this is not a enough of a confirmation that the soul enters the womb upon conception, you will be given another example in the coming verses.
Verse 18 shows the doubt which was in him regarding his wifes conception as compared to the belief which was found in Mary upon hearing of hers.
Skipping ahead to verse 23 we are told that upon completing his administration one week later, Zacharias returned to his house. He left June 20th on his 30 mile hike home and arrived home on June 24th.
In verse 24 we read that after Zacharias had returned home, Elisabeth hid herself 5 months (because a stoning would be the standard punishment for adultery) or possibly to avoid all uncleaness. This brings us to November 25th if we conclude that a 30 mile hike for Zacharias was indeed a 3 day journey. In any event, a day or two, give or take, does not interfere here.
In verse 26, we are told that we are in the 6th month or December 25th when the Angel of the Lord appeared unto Mary. The 27th verse tells us that the virgin Mary was of the house of David. The house of David was the King line. Since Mary and Elisabeth were cousins, that proves Christ to be of two tribes of Israel. The Levite- Priest line and the Davidic (Judah) King Line. Christ, The King of Kings and the Most High Priest (Lord of Lords).
In verse 36 we see that in the 6th month of Elisabeth's pregnancy (December 25th) Mary is visited by Gabriel and told the she, just as Elisabeth, would also be conceiving a child. Mary's conception, unlike Elisabeth's of course, was Immaculate rather than merely, if anyone dare say merely, miraculous.
Thus, giving us the day of our Christ's conception on December 25th.
Remember, John The Babtist was to be the fore-runner of Christ; turning the hearts of the children back to their fathers.
In verse 40 & 41, we have another witness to the fact that the soul enters the womb upon conception.
:40; And (Mary) entered into the house of Zacharias and saluted Elisabeth.
:41; And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
It dosen't matter to me whether Christ's birth is celebrated on December 25th or in September. However, it does shed some light on why the animals were still in the manger at His birth.
In either case I enjoy the idea of celebrating both dates for their awesome purpose, knowing that on December 25th, The Holy Spirit began dwelling with man.