Every year on December 25th, Christians from all corners of the Earth come together to mark the birth of Jesus in style.
They sing beautiful hymns, decorate their homes, celebrate solemn services, and exchange gifts to mark this joyful occasion.
Even people who aren’t religious join the festivities.
But was Jesus’s birthday really on December 25th? Let’s find out.
What does the Bible say about Jesus’ birthday?
Two books in the Bible, Matthew and Luke, tell the story of Jesus’s birth. Both accounts begin with the angel’s visit to Mary, where he reveals she shall bear a Son.
Heavily pregnant, Mary and her husband, Joseph, journeyed to their hometown, Bethlehem, because of a new order by Caesar Augustus.
Unfortunately, no rooms were available upon arrival, so they stayed in a stable with farm animals. This was where Mary gave birth to Jesus and placed Him in a cattle barn.
The biblical account doesn’t reveal anything about the date of Jesus’ birth.
But there’s a trail of breadcrumbs that could lead us to the answer. In the book of Luke, an angel announces the birth of Jesus to shepherds looking after their sheep at night.
How does this help? It rules out December and other winter months. After all, it seems unlikely that shepherds would be out watching sheep on a cold night.
Instead, some sources speculate that Jesus was born sometime in spring.
But without more information to go on, this seems like a stretch.
Was Jesus born on December 25th?
The simple answer is no, Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th.
Although the world celebrates Christmas on this date, it’s not historically accurate.
Christmas, which translates to “mass on Christ’s day,” became a part of Christian tradition more than three centuries after Jesus’s death.
Why is Jesus’ birthday celebrated on December 25th?
So, we know that Jesus wasn’t really born on December 25th, but how come the whole world celebrates it on that day?
Early Christians didn’t want to celebrate the birthdays of the saints and martyrs. They believed celebrating their martyrdom was nobler and saw birthday celebrations as a pagan practice.
On December 25, 336, over three hundred years since Jesus’ death, the earliest Christmas celebration was recorded.
It happened under the reign of Emperor Constantine and was thought to be a political move to weaken pagan religions and their practices.
Before Emperor Constantine made December 25 a Christian celebration, it was reserved for other religious traditions.
In the third century pre-Christian Roman Empire, December 25th celebrated the unconquered sun (Sol Invictus). It was also the day to celebrate the birth of Mithra, a God of light and loyalty.
There’s another theory for the origin of the December 25th Christmas celebrations by Sextus Julius Africanus.
He was a Roman Christian historian who assumed that Mary conceived Jesus on March 25.
This was the same date he believed that the world was created. Following this theory, Jesus would be born nine months later, on December 25th.
December 25th isn’t the actual day Jesus was born, but it doesn’t make this event any less worth celebrating.
Some say Jesus was born in spring, but there isn’t much evidence behind this theory.
Even though the date isn’t historically accurate, Christmas is still a fantastic time to share cheer and love with everyone around you.
For many Christians, it remains a great time to reflect on the life of Jesus and share that with others.