Merry Christmas! December 25th is NOT based on a Pagan celebration
Dr. John Elder notes that:
...archeological discoveries prove beyond doubt that regular enrollment of taxpayers was a feature of Roman rule and have shown that a census was taken every fourteen years. A large Egyptian papyrus, telling of an enrollment AD 174-175, refers to two previous enrollments, one in 160-161 and another in 146-147, at intervals of fourteen years. A much earlier papyrus, dated in the reign of Tiberius [14-37 AD] reports a man's wife and dependents for enrollment and apparently has a reference to a tax roll compiled AD 20-21. Another shows an enrollment under Nero AD 62-63; another lists those exempt from the poll tax in the forty-first year of Augustus, who began his reign in 27 BC. Since Augustus records that he set about early in his reign to organize the empire, the first census may have been either 23-22 BC or in 9-8 BC; the latter would be the census to which the Gospel of Luke refers. (Elder, J. 1960. Prophets, Idols, and Diggers. Indianapolis/New York: Bobbs-Merrill Co., pp. 159-60).
The question has been raised whether the Romans would have instituted census and taxation procedures in Palestine while Herod the Great was ruling as king of the Jews. That they would not have hesitated to do so is suggested by comparison with Apamea on the Orontes in Syria. The autonomy of this city-state is shown by the fact that it minted its own coins, yet Quirinius himself had a census taken there. A gravestone found in Venice carries the inscription of a Roman officer named Q. Aemilius Secundus. He states that by order of P. Sulpicius Quirinius, whom he calls legatus Caesaris Syriae, he himself conducted a census of Apamea, a city-state of 117,000 citizens. As for Herod, Josephus reports that in the time when Saturninus and Volumnius were the presidents of Syria, Caesar Augustus demoted him from 'friend' (φ?λος= amicus) to 'subject.' Saturninus was listed above as governor of Syria in 9-6 BC, and Volumnius was evidently associated with him. By comparison with Apamea and specially from the time of Herod's demotion by Augustus, Palestine would scarcely be exempt from any census and taxation procedures the Romans wished to institute. (Finegan, J. 1964. Handbook of Biblical Chronology. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, p. 237).
The Star of Bethlehem 12/25 2 BC