abiding in the field

Luke 2:8

2:8 abiding in the field. It is unlikely that shepherds would be abiding in their fields in late December. Furthermore, the seventy-mile journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem would probably have been too difficult for Mary in the winter. A more probable time would be late September, the time of the annual Feast of Tabernacles, when such travel was commonly accepted. Thus, it is rather commonly believed (though not certain) that Jesus’ birth was around the last of September. The conception of Christ, however (which is the real miracle and cause of celebration), may well have taken place in late December of the previous year. Our Christmas celebration may well be recognized as an honored observation of the incarnation of “the Word made flesh.”

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