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  • Pastor Ken

The Christmas Timeline

Updated: Dec 24, 2023

Merry Christmas to all my friends and family out there. We are here at the Christmas season and we love telling the Christmas story. Sometimes it can get confusing as to what happens when. I wanted to give a brief timeline of the events and give a few questions answered.

A miracle birth (before Jesus) (Luke 1:5-25): The angel Gabriel appears before Zechariah and tells him his wife will have a child. We don’t know how old Elizabeth was but we know she was past typical child bearing age (maybe 70’s). Zechariah didn’t believe it was happening so he was made mute until his son was born.

6 months later…

The Angel Gabriel Visits Mary (Luke 1:26-38): Gabriel comes to Mary, saying she is going to conceive a son through the power of the Holy Spirt and he will be the Savior of the world (must have been a wild conversation!).

A few days later…

Mary visits Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-45): Mary head to visit Elizabeth and Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit after she sees Mary.

Three months later…

The Birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:57-66): Mary stays with Elizabeth during her first trimester and then John is born. He is raised by his parents and stays out of the spotlight until his public ministry.

About 5-6 months later…

Joseph and Mary head to Bethlehem for the census (Luke 2:1-7). This is where they are at Bethlehem and have Jesus in the manger because there’s no room for them in the inn.

Shepherds and Angels join the manger scene (Luke 2:8-20). Angels start praising God and the shepherds join them (note: just shepherds and angels, not the Magi)

Eight days later…

Jesus is dedicated at the temple (Luke 2:21-24): As per Jewish law, Jesus was presented at the temple when he was 8 days old. He was circumcised and named Jesus.

About two years later…

The Magi come from the East (Matthew 2:1-12). The Magi first saw the star when Jesus was born but traveled first to Herod to ask where Jesus was. By the time they got there and avoided Herod, Jesus was about two, which caused the decree to kill all babies 2 and under.

A few days later…

Fleeing to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-18). After the Magi leave, an angel warns Joseph in a dream to leave for Egypt. They stay there until Herod dies (about a year or so later)

About 9 years later…

Jesus teaches in the temple (Luke 2:41-52) At 12 years old, Jesus is schooling old men on the Old Testament (side note: Mary and Joseph even lost the perfect son, give yourself some grace!)

That’s an overview of Jesus’ early life as far as we know in Scripture. Two quick questions:

  1. Was Jesus born on December 25th? We don’t know for sure. There are two theories that I’ve heard that could work.

  2. Some think he was born in the summer based on the star the Magi saw. We then celebrate Christmas on December 25 to replace a pagan holiday that celebrated the start of winter.

  3. Another theory is that he was born on December 25. The evidence is in a Jewish tradition (not in the Bible) that says the messiah would be conceived on the day he died. Jesus was thought to have died on March 25 in this theory which if he was conceived on March 25, he would have been born on December 25 (9 months later).

While both theories are interesting, I don’t think the exact date is as important as the fact that it happened. It’s not when it happened but why it happened that should matter.

2. Where were the Magi from? We don’t know exactly but they were from the east. There also isn’t anything in Scripture that says there were three wise men. It’s assumed that there are three because there were three gifts.

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