Tricky Bits of Christmas: When is Jesus’ Birthday?

Welcome to What’s in the Bible?’s 6-week blog series to help you and your family through the “Tricky Bits” of this holiday season – everything from connecting our modern traditions to their sacred roots to helping you navigate holiday budgets and meal planning! Join our team of writers plus some very special guest bloggers for a Christmas blog series unlike any other.

Nativity Scene. Stained glass window in the Basel Cathedral.Is Jesus’ birthday really December 25?

The short answer to the question “was Jesus born on December 25?” is pretty simple – we don’t know! So why do we celebrate His birthday – Christmas – on December 25? That answer is a bit more complicated!

We actually don’t know when Jesus was born. In fact, the Church did not celebrate Jesus’ birthday until around 200 AD – that’s more than 150 years after Jesus died! In the days of the early Church, the church leaders often took pagan holidays and “Christian-ized” them in attempts to convert more people to Christianity. The winter solstice was a popular pagan holiday, and it was celebrated on December 25. In the year 336, Roman church leaders declared December 25 to be the day to celebrate Christ’s birth.

You can learn more about the origins of Christmas Day here.

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