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MARILYNN - Why do we celebrate Christmas in December when we are told he was born on April 6?

JOEL - First of all we should remember that time and fixing exact dates for things are something we mortals seem to be concerned with while such things don't really mean much to God who is infinite and eternal. While we believe that Jesus may have been born on April 6, there's nothing wrong with celebrating his birth on a day coinciding with the rest of the world. It's a great opportunity for all Christians to share their beliefs and honor and worship Christ together

In regards to the birth date of Jesus, the only hint we have on an exact date is found in D&C 20 at the organization of the Church:

"The rise of the Church of Christ in these last days, being one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh," (D&C 20:1)

Some argue that the phrase "one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh", should be interpreted to mean that Christ was born exactly on April 6, 1830 years ago. Others believe that the phrase was not intended to fix the year of Christ's birth but was simply an oratorical mode of expressing the current year, which I tend to agree with. The recent discovery of the Book of Commandments and Revelations manuscript of D&C 20, show that the above phrase was actually an introductory head note written by early church historian and scribe John Whitmer — something he did for many of the revelations and therefore not actually part of that revelation written by Joseph Smith.

Bruce R. McConkie stated in his "Mortal Messiah":
"We do not believe it is possible with the present state of our knowledge-including that which is known both in and out of the Church-to state with finality when the natal day of the Lord Jesus actually occurred" (McConkie, Bruce R. Mortal Messiah, Vol. 1, p. 349, n. 2. Salt Lake City, 1979).

There are no records of Joseph Smith confirming that April 6 is the birth date of Jesus and the Church has no official position on this matter. However, presidents of the Church, including Harold B. Lee(1973) and Spencer W. Kimball(1980), have offered opinions that April 6 is the true anniversary of Christ's birth. But other than the D&C 20 verse there are no other scriptural references that directly support the April 6 date.

Many Bible scholars agree that Jesus may have been born sometime in the Spring. The fact that ‘there was no room for them in the inn’ (Luke 2:7) suggests that the birth probably occurred at the time of one of the three feasts, such as Passover, at which Jews were required to be in Jerusalem. The time of the Passover at the year 1 BC just happens to fall on or about April 6.

Interesting to note that many other important events occured during the time of Passover:

1. Christ possibly born near this date.
2. Jesus began to perform miracles openly, marking the beginning of his public ministry. (John 2:23)
3. The Savior cleansed the temple just before Passover both at the beginning of his ministry (John 2:13–16) and at the end (see Matt. 21:12–13)
4. Jesus instituted the Sacrament and was sacrificed and resurrected at Passover time(Matt. 26:26-28)

Others believe that it may have happened some time in December. An interesting article about this was written in the Deseret News called "The real date of Jesus' birth".

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