March 25 is Christmas! (Christmas??)
March 25 is the traditional date for the angel Gabriel’s annunciation (announcement) to the Virgin Mary: “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.” (Luke 1:31) Mary believed these words and Christ was conceived in her by the Holy Spirit.
Why was March 25th chosen as the day for this festival? Some cite an old Jewish tradition that assumed that the great patriarchs and prophets died on the same calendar day they were conceived. If it were true that Jesus died on March 25th as some early Christian writers suggested, then it was reasonable to think that Jesus might have also been conceived on that date. While the dates of His conception, birth, and death cannot be absolutely verified, the Western Church has settled on March 25th for Jesus’ incarnation and subsequently December 25th (9 months later) for His birth.
The date of Jesus’ death is a movable day on the church calendar, which means that Good Friday can fall anywhere from the end of March to the end of April. Only on rare occasions does Good Friday fall on March 25th. It happened just three times in the 20th century (1910, 1921, 1932), and it happens only twice in the 21st century (2005, 2016). After this year, the convergence of these special days will not happen again until 2157.
“After this year,
of these special days
will not happen again
What a wonderful opportunity we have in 2016 to celebrate these holy days! Good Friday answers the Incarnation: the Son of God took on flesh to save sinners by His death.
If you’ve been waiting to attend church, here’s a good reason. Even better is to hear that Jesus was born into the world to die to save it – and that includes you. Hear that message at Good Shepherd.
Source: Lutheran Sentinel
Further details on March 25:
“Efforts to establish the exact date of Christ’s crucifixion in the year of His death resulted in focusing on March 25. Hippolytus accepted this date, and the Johannine chronology along with it, as did Tertullian in Adversus Iudaeos VIII:18. March 25 coincided with the spring equinox in the Julian calendar, and it is noteworthy that it had some bearing on the establishment also on the date of Christ’s birth. On the basis of the Jewish tradition that the Passover occurred at the same time as the creation of the world (in the spring), Christians believed the world’s redemption also occurred in the spring at Passover time. It was believed that Christ was conceived and died on the same date since the incarnation of the Word began the process of the redemption of the world. In spite of this importance for March 25, there was no concern in the third century to shift the date of the Pascha to the equinox itself. Later writers placed the resurrection on March 25, but earlier writers associate it with Christ’s passion. The Peri Pascha of Melito of Sardis (c. 165) maintains that the name “Pascha” derives from the Greek verb paschein, meaning “to suffer.” But, as in John’s Gospel, there was no sense of divorcing Christ’s passion from His glorification.” [Senn, Frank C. “Christian Liturgy: Catholic and Evangelical” 1997 Augsburg Fortress, 90]