How December 25 Became Christmas

Read Andrew McGowan’s article “How December 25 Became Christmas” as it originally appeared in Bible Review, December 2002. The article was first republished in Bible History Daily in 2012.—Ed.


 

A blanket of snow covers the little town of Bethlehem, in Pieter Bruegel’s oil painting from 1566. Although Jesus’ birth is celebrated every year on December 25, Luke and the other gospel writers offer no hint about the specific time of year he was born. Scala/Art Resource, NY

On December 25, Christians around the world will gather to celebrate Jesus’ birth. Joyful carols, special liturgies, brightly wrapped gifts, festive foods—these all characterize the feast today, at least in the northern hemisphere. But just how did the Christmas festival originate? How did December 25 come to be associated with Jesus’ birthday?

The Bible offers few clues: Celebrations of Jesus’ Nativity are not mentioned in the Gospels or Acts; the date is not given, not even the time of year. The biblical reference to shepherds tending their flocks at night when they hear the news of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:8) might suggest the spring lambing season; in the cold month of December, on the other hand, sheep might well have been corralled. Yet most scholars would urge caution about extracting such a precise but incidental detail from a narrative whose focus is theological rather than calendrical.

The extrabiblical evidence from the first and second century is equally spare: There is no mention of birth celebrations in the writings of early Christian writers such as Irenaeus (c. 130–200) or Tertullian (c. 160–225). Origen of Alexandria (c. 165–264) goes so far as to mock Roman celebrations of birth anniversaries, dismissing them as “pagan” practices—a strong indication that Jesus’ birth was not marked with similar festivities at that place and time.1 As far as we can tell, Christmas was not celebrated at all at this point.

This stands in sharp contrast to the very early traditions surrounding Jesus’ last days. Each of the Four Gospels provides detailed information about the time of Jesus’ death. According to John, Jesus is crucified just as the Passover lambs are being sacrificed. This would have occurred on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Nisan, just before the Jewish holiday began at sundown (considered the beginning of the 15th day because in the Hebrew calendar, days begin at sundown). In Matthew, Mark and Luke, however, the Last Supper is held after sundown, on the beginning of the 15th. Jesus is crucified the next morning—still, the 15th.a
 


 
Interested in learning about the birth of Jesus? Learn more about the history of Christmas and the date of Jesus’ birth in the free eBook The First Christmas: The Story of Jesus’ Birth in History and Tradition.
 

 
Easter, a much earlier development than Christmas, was simply the gradual Christian reinterpretation of Passover in terms of Jesus’ Passion. Its observance could even be implied in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 5:7–8: “Our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the festival…”); it was certainly a distinctively Christian feast by the mid-second century C.E., when the apocryphal text known as the Epistle to the Apostles has Jesus instruct his disciples to “make commemoration of [his] death, that is, the Passover.”

Jesus’ ministry, miracles, Passion and Resurrection were often of most interest to first- and early-second-century C.E. Christian writers. But over time, Jesus’ origins would become of increasing concern. We can begin to see this shift already in the New Testament. The earliest writings—Paul and Mark—make no mention of Jesus’ birth. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke provide well-known but quite different accounts of the event—although neither specifies a date. In the second century C.E., further details of Jesus’ birth and childhood are related in apocryphal writings such as the Infancy Gospel of Thomas and the Proto-Gospel of James.b These texts provide everything from the names of Jesus’ grandparents to the details of his education—but not the date of his birth.

Finally, in about 200 C.E., a Christian teacher in Egypt makes reference to the date Jesus was born. According to Clement of Alexandria, several different days had been proposed by various Christian groups. Surprising as it may seem, Clement doesn’t mention December 25 at all. Clement writes: “There are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord’s birth, but also the day; and they say that it took place in the 28th year of Augustus, and in the 25th day of [the Egyptian month] Pachon [May 20 in our calendar] … And treating of His Passion, with very great accuracy, some say that it took place in the 16th year of Tiberius, on the 25th of Phamenoth [March 21]; and others on the 25th of Pharmuthi [April 21] and others say that on the 19th of Pharmuthi [April 15] the Savior suffered. Further, others say that He was born on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi [April 20 or 21].”2

Clearly there was great uncertainty, but also a considerable amount of interest, in dating Jesus’ birth in the late second century. By the fourth century, however, we find references to two dates that were widely recognized—and now also celebrated—as Jesus’ birthday: December 25 in the western Roman Empire and January 6 in the East (especially in Egypt and Asia Minor). The modern Armenian church continues to celebrate Christmas on January 6; for most Christians, however, December 25 would prevail, while January 6 eventually came to be known as the Feast of the Epiphany, commemorating the arrival of the magi in Bethlehem. The period between became the holiday season later known as the 12 days of Christmas.

The earliest mention of December 25 as Jesus’ birthday comes from a mid-fourth-century Roman almanac that lists the death dates of various Christian bishops and martyrs. The first date listed, December 25, is marked: natus Christus in Betleem Judeae: “Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea.”3 In about 400 C.E., Augustine of Hippo mentions a local dissident Christian group, the Donatists, who apparently kept Christmas festivals on December 25, but refused to celebrate the Epiphany on January 6, regarding it as an innovation. Since the Donatist group only emerged during the persecution under Diocletian in 312 C.E. and then remained stubbornly attached to the practices of that moment in time, they seem to represent an older North African Christian tradition.

In the East, January 6 was at first not associated with the magi alone, but with the Christmas story as a whole.

So, almost 300 years after Jesus was born, we finally find people observing his birth in mid-winter. But how had they settled on the dates December 25 and January 6?

There are two theories today: one extremely popular, the other less often heard outside scholarly circles (though far more ancient).4

The most loudly touted theory about the origins of the Christmas date(s) is that it was borrowed from pagan celebrations. The Romans had their mid-winter Saturnalia festival in late December; barbarian peoples of northern and western Europe kept holidays at similar times. To top it off, in 274 C.E., the Roman emperor Aurelian established a feast of the birth of Sol Invictus (the Unconquered Sun), on December 25. Christmas, the argument goes, is really a spin-off from these pagan solar festivals. According to this theory, early Christians deliberately chose these dates to encourage the spread of Christmas and Christianity throughout the Roman world: If Christmas looked like a pagan holiday, more pagans would be open to both the holiday and the God whose birth it celebrated.
 


 
In the five-part documentary An Archaeological Search for Jesus, Hershel Shanks travels from Galilee to Jerusalem in search of the first century world in which Jesus lived. Visit Nazareth, Sepphoris, Capernaum, Bethsaida, Qumran and other landmarks as Shanks interviews eminent archaeologists and New Testament scholars about the sites associated with Jesus and other gospel figures.
 

 
Despite its popularity today, this theory of Christmas’s origins has its problems. It is not found in any ancient Christian writings, for one thing. Christian authors of the time do note a connection between the solstice and Jesus’ birth: The church father Ambrose (c. 339–397), for example, described Christ as the true sun, who outshone the fallen gods of the old order. But early Christian writers never hint at any recent calendrical engineering; they clearly don’t think the date was chosen by the church. Rather they see the coincidence as a providential sign, as natural proof that God had selected Jesus over the false pagan gods.

It’s not until the 12th century that we find the first suggestion that Jesus’ birth celebration was deliberately set at the time of pagan feasts. A marginal note on a manuscript of the writings of the Syriac biblical commentator Dionysius bar-Salibi states that in ancient times the Christmas holiday was actually shifted from January 6 to December 25 so that it fell on the same date as the pagan Sol Invictus holiday.5 In the 18th and 19th centuries, Bible scholars spurred on by the new study of comparative religions latched on to this idea.6 They claimed that because the early Christians didn’t know when Jesus was born, they simply assimilated the pagan solstice festival for their own purposes, claiming it as the time of the Messiah’s birth and celebrating it accordingly.

More recent studies have shown that many of the holiday’s modern trappings do reflect pagan customs borrowed much later, as Christianity expanded into northern and western Europe. The Christmas tree, for example, has been linked with late medieval druidic practices. This has only encouraged modern audiences to assume that the date, too, must be pagan.

There are problems with this popular theory, however, as many scholars recognize. Most significantly, the first mention of a date for Christmas (c. 200) and the earliest celebrations that we know about (c. 250–300) come in a period when Christians were not borrowing heavily from pagan traditions of such an obvious character.

Granted, Christian belief and practice were not formed in isolation. Many early elements of Christian worship—including eucharistic meals, meals honoring martyrs and much early Christian funerary art—would have been quite comprehensible to pagan observers. Yet, in the first few centuries C.E., the persecuted Christian minority was greatly concerned with distancing itself from the larger, public pagan religious observances, such as sacrifices, games and holidays. This was still true as late as the violent persecutions of the Christians conducted by the Roman emperor Diocletian between 303 and 312 C.E.

This would change only after Constantine converted to Christianity. From the mid-fourth century on, we do find Christians deliberately adapting and Christianizing pagan festivals. A famous proponent of this practice was Pope Gregory the Great, who, in a letter written in 601 C.E. to a Christian missionary in Britain, recommended that local pagan temples not be destroyed but be converted into churches, and that pagan festivals be celebrated as feasts of Christian martyrs. At this late point, Christmas may well have acquired some pagan trappings. But we don’t have evidence of Christians adopting pagan festivals in the third century, at which point dates for Christmas were established. Thus, it seems unlikely that the date was simply selected to correspond with pagan solar festivals.

The December 25 feast seems to have existed before 312—before Constantine and his conversion, at least. As we have seen, the Donatist Christians in North Africa seem to have known it from before that time. Furthermore, in the mid- to late fourth century, church leaders in the eastern Empire concerned themselves not with introducing a celebration of Jesus’ birthday, but with the addition of the December date to their traditional celebration on January 6.7
 


 
Read Andrew McGowan’s article “The Hungry Jesus,” in which he challenges the tradition that Jesus was a welcoming host at meals, in Bible History Daily.
 

 
There is another way to account for the origins of Christmas on December 25: Strange as it may seem, the key to dating Jesus’ birth may lie in the dating of Jesus’ death at Passover. This view was first suggested to the modern world by French scholar Louis Duchesne in the early 20th century and fully developed by American Thomas Talley in more recent years.8 But they were certainly not the first to note a connection between the traditional date of Jesus’ death and his birth.

The baby Jesus flies down from heaven on the back of a cross, in this detail from Master Bertram’s 14th-century Annunciation scene. Jesus’ conception carried with it the promise of salvation through his death. It may be no coincidence, then, that the early church celebrated Jesus’ conception and death on the same calendar day: March 25, exactly nine months before December 25. Kunsthalle, Hamburg/Bridgeman Art Library, NY

Around 200 C.E. Tertullian of Carthage reported the calculation that the 14th of Nisan (the day of the crucifixion according to the Gospel of John) in the year Jesus diedc was equivalent to March 25 in the Roman (solar) calendar.9 March 25 is, of course, nine months before December 25; it was later recognized as the Feast of the Annunciation—the commemoration of Jesus’ conception.10 Thus, Jesus was believed to have been conceived and crucified on the same day of the year. Exactly nine months later, Jesus was born, on December 25.d

This idea appears in an anonymous Christian treatise titled On Solstices and Equinoxes, which appears to come from fourth-century North Africa. The treatise states: “Therefore our Lord was conceived on the eighth of the kalends of April in the month of March [March 25], which is the day of the passion of the Lord and of his conception. For on that day he was conceived on the same he suffered.”11 Based on this, the treatise dates Jesus’ birth to the winter solstice.

Augustine, too, was familiar with this association. In On the Trinity (c. 399–419) he writes: “For he [Jesus] is believed to have been conceived on the 25th of March, upon which day also he suffered; so the womb of the Virgin, in which he was conceived, where no one of mortals was begotten, corresponds to the new grave in which he was buried, wherein was never man laid, neither before him nor since. But he was born, according to tradition, upon December the 25th.”12
 


 
Learn about the magi in art and literature in “Witnessing the Divine” by Robin M. Jensen, originally published in Bible Review and now available for free in Bible History Daily.
 

 
In the East, too, the dates of Jesus’ conception and death were linked. But instead of working from the 14th of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, the easterners used the 14th of the first spring month (Artemisios) in their local Greek calendar—April 6 to us. April 6 is, of course, exactly nine months before January 6—the eastern date for Christmas. In the East, too, we have evidence that April was associated with Jesus’ conception and crucifixion. Bishop Epiphanius of Salamis writes that on April 6, “The lamb was shut up in the spotless womb of the holy virgin, he who took away and takes away in perpetual sacrifice the sins of the world.”13 Even today, the Armenian Church celebrates the Annunciation in early April (on the 7th, not the 6th) and Christmas on January 6.e

Thus, we have Christians in two parts of the world calculating Jesus’ birth on the basis that his death and conception took place on the same day (March 25 or April 6) and coming up with two close but different results (December 25 and January 6).

Connecting Jesus’ conception and death in this way will certainly seem odd to modern readers, but it reflects ancient and medieval understandings of the whole of salvation being bound up together. One of the most poignant expressions of this belief is found in Christian art. In numerous paintings of the angel’s Annunciation to Mary—the moment of Jesus’ conception—the baby Jesus is shown gliding down from heaven on or with a small cross (see photo above of detail from Master Bertram’s Annunciation scene); a visual reminder that the conception brings the promise of salvation through Jesus’ death.

The notion that creation and redemption should occur at the same time of year is also reflected in ancient Jewish tradition, recorded in the Talmud. The Babylonian Talmud preserves a dispute between two early-second-century C.E. rabbis who share this view, but disagree on the date: Rabbi Eliezer states: “In Nisan the world was created; in Nisan the Patriarchs were born; on Passover Isaac was born … and in Nisan they [our ancestors] will be redeemed in time to come.” (The other rabbi, Joshua, dates these same events to the following month, Tishri.)14 Thus, the dates of Christmas and Epiphany may well have resulted from Christian theological reflection on such chronologies: Jesus would have been conceived on the same date he died, and born nine months later.15

In the end we are left with a question: How did December 25 become Christmas? We cannot be entirely sure. Elements of the festival that developed from the fourth century until modern times may well derive from pagan traditions. Yet the actual date might really derive more from Judaism—from Jesus’ death at Passover, and from the rabbinic notion that great things might be expected, again and again, at the same time of the year—than from paganism. Then again, in this notion of cycles and the return of God’s redemption, we may perhaps also be touching upon something that the pagan Romans who celebrated Sol Invictus, and many other peoples since, would have understood and claimed for their own, too.16
 


 
“How December 25 Became Christmas” by Andrew McGowan originally appeared in Bible Review, December 2002. The article was first republished in Bible History Daily in December 2012.
 

 
andrew-mcgowanAndrew McGowan is Dean and President of the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale and McFaddin Professor of Anglican Studies at Yale Divinity School. Formerly, he was Warden and President of Trinity College at the University of Melbourne, and Joan Munro Professor of Historical Theology in Trinity’s Theological School within the University of Divinity. His work on early Christian thought and history includes Ascetic Eucharists: Food and Drink in Early Christan Ritual Meals (Oxford: Clarendon, 1999) and Ancient Christian Worship (Grand Rapids, MI: BakerAcademic, 2014).
 

 

Notes:

a. See Jonathan Klawans, “Was Jesus’ Last Supper a Seder?” Bible Review, October 2001.

b. See the following Bible Review articles: David R. Cartlidge, “The Christian Apocrypha: Preserved in Art,” Bible Review, June 1997; Ronald F. Hock, “The Favored One,” Bible Review, June 2001; and Charles W. Hedrick, “The 34 Gospels,” Bible Review, June 2002.

c. For more on dating the year of Jesus’ birth, see Leonara Neville, “Fixing the Millennium,” Archaeology Odyssey, January/February 2002.

d. The ancients were familiar with the 9-month gestation period based on the observance of women’s menstrual cycles, pregnancies and miscarriages.

e. In the West (and eventually everywhere), the Easter celebration was later shifted from the actual day to the following Sunday. The insistence of the eastern Christians in keeping Easter on the actual 14th day caused a major debate within the church, with the easterners sometimes referred to as the Quartodecimans, or “Fourteenthers.”

1. Origen, Homily on Leviticus 8.

2. Clement, Stromateis 1.21.145. In addition, Christians in Clement’s native Egypt seem to have known a commemoration of Jesus’ baptism—sometimes understood as the moment of his divine choice, and hence as an alternate “incarnation” story—on the same date (Stromateis 1.21.146). See further on this point Thomas J. Talley, Origins of the Liturgical Year, 2nd ed. (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991), pp. 118–120, drawing on Roland H. Bainton, “Basilidian Chronology and New Testament Interpretation,” Journal of Biblical Literature 42 (1923), pp. 81–134; and now especially Gabriele Winkler, “The Appearance of the Light at the Baptism of Jesus and the Origins of the Feast of the Epiphany,” in Maxwell Johnson, ed., Between Memory and Hope: Readings on the Liturgical Year (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2000), pp. 291–347.

3. The Philocalian Calendar.

4. Scholars of liturgical history in the English-speaking world are particularly skeptical of the “solstice” connection; see Susan K. Roll, “The Origins of Christmas: The State of the Question,” in Between Memory and Hope: Readings on the Liturgical Year (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2000), pp. 273–290, especially pp. 289–290.

5. A gloss on a manuscript of Dionysius Bar Salibi, d. 1171; see Talley, Origins, pp. 101–102.

6. Prominent among these was Paul Ernst Jablonski; on the history of scholarship, see especially Roll, “The Origins of Christmas,” pp. 277–283.

7. For example, Gregory of Nazianzen, Oratio 38; John Chrysostom, In Diem Natalem.

8. Louis Duchesne, Origines du culte Chrétien, 5th ed. (Paris: Thorin et Fontemoing, 1925), pp. 275–279; and Talley, Origins.

9. Tertullian, Adversus Iudaeos 8.

10. There are other relevant texts for this element of argument, including Hippolytus and the (pseudo-Cyprianic) De pascha computus; see Talley, Origins, pp. 86, 90–91.

11. De solstitia et aequinoctia conceptionis et nativitatis domini nostri iesu christi et iohannis baptistae.

12. Augustine, Sermon 202.

13. Epiphanius is quoted in Talley, Origins, p. 98.

14. b. Rosh Hashanah 10b–11a.

15. Talley, Origins, pp. 81–82.

16. On the two theories as false alternatives, see Roll, “Origins of Christmas.”
 


 

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  1. Erwin says

    X’mas or Christmas is an insult to an Eternal God who needs “no” birthday celebration. God has no beginning and ending. X’mas is pagan in origin . Instead of rejecting paganism, some people embraced pagan practices.

    Proverbs 13:13 warns, “Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.”

    The birth of Christ is “no” ordinary birth but an incarnation You cannot compare His birth to ordinary human being. Why? Because God manifested in the flesh to die for our sins.

    Before He was born in Bethlehem, He appeared many times in the Old Testament. Why insist to give Christ a celebration of His coming as a Messiah or His birth which is a false tradition of Roman Catholic.

    X’mas is filled with half-truths. Any half-truth is not truth at all but lies. People celebrating X’mas are blinded from the truth and deceived by Lucifer, now called Satan the devil.

    (a.) The Lord Jesus Christ never commands us to celebrate His birth, but to remember His death. His resurrection truly defeat sin, death and Hell.

    (b.) The apostles and the first Church in Jerusalem never celebrated Christ’s birthday even once.

    (c.) 25 December is not in the Bible — a gross violation of Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 20:5-6 and Revelation 22:18-19 resulting to the removal or blotting out one’s name in the Book Life. On Judgment Day whose name are not in the Book of Life will be thrown to the Lake of Fire.

    Christmas is evil or ungodly. Fear God !

  2. Erwin says

    X’mas or Christmas is an insult to an Eternal God who needs “no” birthday celebration. God has no beginning and ending. X’mas is pagan in origin . Instead of rejecting paganism, some people embraced pagan practices.

    Proverbs 13:13 warns, “Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.”

    The birth of Christ is “no” ordinary birth but an incarnation You cannot compare His birth to ordinary human being. Why? Because God manifested in the flesh to die for our sins.

    Before He was born in Bethlehem, He appeared many times in the Old Testament.
    Why insist to give Christ a celebration of His coming as a Messiah or His birth which is a false tradition of Roman Catholic.

    X’mas is filled with half-truths. Any half-truth is not truth at all but lies. People celebrating X’mas are blinded from the truth and deceived by Lucifer, now called Satan the devil.

    (a.) The Lord Jesus Christ never commands us to celebrate His birth, but to remember His death. His resurrection truly defeat sin, death and Hell.

    (b.) The apostles and the first Church in Jerusalem never celebrated Christ’s birthday even once.

    (c.) 25 December is not in the Bible — a gross violation of Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 20:5-6 and Revelation 22:18-19 resulting to the removal or blotting out one’s name in the Book Life. On Judgment Day whose name are not in the Book of Life will be thrown to the Lake of Fire.

    Christmas is evil or ungodly. Fear God !

  3. Virginia says

    December 25 is the sun god’s birthday. Christians did not celebrate the sun god’s birthday, so were left out of the festivities. So that they could celebrate at that time of the year too, someone decided to call December 25th Jesus’ birthday. It is a lie inspired by Satan to entice Christians to celebrate the sun god’s birthday by calling it Jesus’ birthday.

  4. javad says

    Peace be with you;
    Do you thinking, approximately dateline Jesus’ birthday is correct practise? It also this much distance between summer to the end of winter.
    Thanks

  5. greg says

    There is a Roman religion/cult of Mithraus – particularly popular amongst Roman soldiers. Constantine was a follower of this religion. Mithraus just happened to be born on ….. 25 December. Constantine was seeking to incorporate this religion into Christianity/ incorporate Christianity into Mithraism. A perfect fit!

  6. Patrick says

    Erwin says …Jesus never instructed us to celebrate his birth but death…” so you see it and thus conclude that those who celebrate Christmas shall be destroyed, but I tell you that Jesus on ascending into heaven gave his Apostles power to do and undo(cf : gospel of John 20:23)Now this power is passed down to the successors after them. You should be concerned with the attitude of Christians towards Christmas and not the Feast itself.

  7. Invenitmundo says

    Jesus was born on December 25
    Christmas is the biggest celebration of Christianity, at which all celebrate the birth of Christ. There is, however, no mention biblical or otherwise indicating 25 December as the one in which Jesus was born. invenitmundo.blogspot.com

  8. Amy says

    I recently watched The Star of Bethlehem, a fascinating documentary linking the arrival of the wise men in Bethlehem to December 25 on our solar calendar. The information is astounding and the science involved leads me to wonder how anyone who sees the significance could possibly doubt God’s power or Jesus as Messiah. I always knew that our date of celebration had to have some heavenly significance not tied to a pagan holiday to have continued to our present day. I was pleased to learn that it does. For those who think we shouldn’t celebrate Christmas because it is not commanded, I wonder how your practices stand up against the laws of God? Can you condemn others with a clear conscience? Jesus may not have commanded that not celebrate his birth, but many did long before it came into regular practice. Do you condemn the shepherds and wise men? If it is done properly, we are worshipping the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior for humbling himself to become a helpless baby. We remember it because His journey of sacrifice began then and his birth and death are linked. They cannot be separated. Were the angels wrong to tell the shepherds to rejoice at the Lord’s birth? That is simply what we are doing. If it was wrong to do, then there would have been no signs in the heavens, no prophecies to announce it, no heavenly celebration, no revelation to God’s holy servants, no angel announcements. It’s hard to deny it. God announced a party for the birth of His son. It’s not commanded but it isn’t forbidden, it’s not a sin, and the remembrance brings untold numbers to Christ and reveals how very deep his sacrifice was, that God made himself helpless for us.

  9. Khurram says

    Jesus Christ was not born on 25 December. A statement by Pope is a reality that has been confessed. There remains a few more of the realities both the Christian faith and the rest of the world has started to realise.
    One reality is that Issa or Prophet Jesus Christ has died and he is buried in Srinagar, Kashmir. He as is believed specially by Christians and Muslims in particular that was taken to heaven and will appear is a totally wrong. Jesus migrated to India and died there at the age of about 120 years. His tomb is in Srinagar city.
    Another interesting fact for Christian world is that Marry mother of Jesus has her grave in Murree a beautiful hill station about one hour drive from Islamabad the capital city of Pakistan.
    Further more that the world is expecting the Messiah will not come in shape of Jesus instead the Messiah has not only come in shape of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian. He claimed to be the Messiah and the Imam mehdi in 1889 in India and died in Lahore currently in Pakistan in 1908. After his death currently it is his fifth successor Mirza Masroor Ahmad who currently resides in London.
    While the Christian people specially youth are getting rid of Christianity and becoming more of disbelievers of Allah Almighty. It is the Ahmadiyya community which is telling the truth about Jesus and Mary in particular hence the world is rapidly approaching and entering Islam .
    For further information you are more than welcome to visit my country Pakistan where I can do my utmost to entertain you and provide maximum details. Other than this you can see the details on the website
    http://www.alislam.org
    Best regards ,
    Khurram Nisar
    Lahore, Pakistan.

  10. JADE says

    this is so useful!!!

  11. David says

    http://www.dec25th.info

    The purpose of this site is to set forth the case, based upon Scripture and sacred history, of Christ’s birth, Dec. 25, 2 B.C.

    We believe the Dec. 25, 2 B.C., birth of our Lord is adequately demonstrated by competent Biblical evidence. However, the method of proof by which to substantiate that claim has largely been lost to history. This has left Christmas open to the charge that the date was derived from the pagan winter soltice, or other serreptious means. However, other than the mere coincidence of sharing the common date of Dec. 25th, there has never been any evidence in support of these claims. To the contraary, evidence that Jesus was born Dec. 25th is quite substantial, such that we have every reason to receive it as the actual date of Christ’s birth.

    With you, we hold the celebration of Christmas dear and believe few dates in the calendar have brought men and nations the joy that has traditionally surrounded the Savior’s birth. We are happy to be able to share the evidence with you here.

  12. Damion says

    December 06,2016
    Jesus was well not born on Dec 25 we just celebrate it on that day because of the festivities.

  13. Jennifer says

    Exactly how are you celebrating Jesus’ birth? Normally on someone’s birthday, you would celebrate with gift giving to the person whos birthday it is. But instead the gifts are given to others? Really, Jesus is the replacement of the sun god of the pagan festival, which during that festival they gave each other gifts. If it was an actual celebration of Jesus’ birth, what gift are you giving him? Worship of false gods? Worship of idols? Followers of tradition?

  14. Joe says

    Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honour of deity Saturn, held on 17 December of the Julian calendar and later expanded with festivities through to 23 December. The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn, in the Roman Forum, and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms: gambling was permitted, and masters provided table service for their slaves.[1] The poet Catullus called it “the best of days”

  15. Lana says

    I believe you may have missed the importance of the Feasts of God and their significance. Christ was likely born during the feast of tabernacles (dwellings) commemorating the temporary dwellings for the Hebrews upon leaving Egypt. Christ was born in a temporary dwelling as his family was traveling as well. This correlation may be worthy of examination as the feasts were prophetic as well as contemporary to the day they were given.

  16. Pedro says

    …que manera de satanizar todo lo que venga de Jesucristo, ya sabemos que no nació el 25 de diciembre. Pero como se menciona en el artículo, era una manera de quitar las tradiciones paganas y poner la cristiana, era una manera de evangelizar a todo el mundo. No creo que sea nada ofensivo quitar a los ídolos paganos y sustituir por la de Cristo, además habéis pasado por alto todos una cosa, los ángeles anunciaron celebrando su nacimiento a los pastores: ¡14 !!Gloria a Dios en las alturas,Y en la tierra paz, buena voluntad para con los hombres!! Lucas 2:14 . Y luego fueron a Belén a buscarlo y se maravillaron de lo que vieron. Seamos luz para todos los demás!

  17. paul says

    Missing from all the discussion is the fact that the coming of Messiah s intricately woven into the Festivals of ancient Israel, in particular the Fall festivals of Feast of Trumpets & Tabernacles. If you subtract 9 months & a few days allowing for human gestation & subtract that from a late year celebration of the Feast of Trumpets, you come up with about Dec 25th as the conception day. The Feast of Trumpets is the future celebration Feast for the coming of Messiah to deliver Israel & institute the Millenium. The moment of conception is vastly more important than the day of birth, without which there would nevr be a birth.

  18. Michael F. says

    All true. However the important aspect missing form the article is that Jesus was a sun god born of a moon god through Virgo, the virgin in the House of Bread, Bethlehem. The birth of the sun is seen as 3 days past the winter solstice. On this day the constellations display the birth narrative just before sunrise. Scholars turn their back on the fact Jude-Christianity is built upon cosmic mythology like all the other religions in the region. It is not special. Stop pretending.

  19. Krzysztof says

    Thanks BAR and the Author.Merry Christmas! Perfect! Material implication (already of Stoics)in Nicea 325 A.D battle: st.Athanassius contra Arius plus B.Russell’s definition of description on Principia Matheamtica, 1910but the best summarized in Scientific Semantics by Alfred Tarski, 1935 explains divinely …old “mysteries”.
    God bless!
    ps. biblical and scientific (here, a formal science:logic) still run this devilish world, Akademia, Church (es) and masmedia

  20. Roslyn says

    Sheep do graze in the fields of Bethlehem all year long according to some people who have been there. They say the hills are of low altitude and so don’t get too cold for grazing. There’s a photo in LifeintheHOlyLand.com taken of shepherds with sheep on Christmas day, no date was given.

    But whenever he was born, it was the start of his incarnation, not of his existence, since he was there at the creation.

  21. Jonathan says

    We will never know the actual date of Jesus birth. I don’t believe it’s important either, although I do believe there is information contained in the Gospels that could shine some light on this.
    If Zechariah saw the angel Gabriel in 6 BCE, Elizabeth would have conceived John a couple of days later, after Zechariah completed his service and went home. The burning of the incense takes place during the Day of Atonement. That day was Sept 22, 6 BCE. add a couple of days for Zechariah to return home and you could get close to Sept 25. Mary was visited by Gabriel 6 months later (or so), Mar 25 5 BCE. 9 Months later is Dec 25 5 BCE. This would allow time for Herod to seek the death of Jesus. Allowing a few months for the Magi to arrive and Herod would have hedged his bet by calling for the killing of every boy under 2. This would also allow time for the flight to Egypt and upon returning, Herod Archelaus would be king causing Joseph to settle in Nazareth.
    If the early church did the calculations for themselves, they too could have arrived at a similar result.
    I personally believe Jesus was born in the later spring of 5-6 BCE but who’s counting 😉
    Jonathan Kubis

  22. Paul says

    In my Bible, in Luke, Chapter 1, verse 26, it says, “In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent…” One would assume the birth occurred nine months later. Wasn’t March considered the sixth month of the Jewish calendar at that time?

  23. David says

    “Lambs are born at the Christmas Season” _Is there evidence that Jesus was born at Christmas??
    by John Stormer
    For too many years, pastors and teachers have said, “Of course we don’t know when Christ was actually born- but the time of year is not really important.” Jehovah’s Witnesses and others have taught that Christmas was “invented” in the fourth or fifth centuries. The supposed goal was giving a “Christian” facade or influence to the wild pagan or Satanic holiday observances during the winter solstice (the shortest days of the year).
    What’s the real story? Is there any real evidence that Jesus Christ _was born at Christmas? A careful examination of a number of seemingly _unrelated Bible passages gives clear indication that the Lord Jesus was _indeed born at Christmas time. Such study will give new emphasis to what _Christ came to do. It will also provide a much deeper appreciation of all _that is hidden in the Word of God which can be discovered by those who _prayerfully search the scriptures.
    Every word in the Bible is there because God put it there. He has a _purpose for every one of His words. Therefore, seemingly casual listing of _periods of time, genealogical references, etc. have significance which can be _discovered through prayerful study.
    In Luke Chapter 1, the Bible records seemingly unimportant details _about what a priest named Zacharias was doing when an angel announced to him _that he and his wife were to have a child. The child was to be John the _Baptist who would prepare the way for the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The Bible _further records that the Lord Jesus was conceived in the sixth month after _John the Baptist was conceived. Therefore, if the time of the conception of _John the Baptist could be determined, the birth date of the Lord Jesus could _be calculated.
    The scriptures say (relevant passages are underlined): “There was in _the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of _the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name _was Elisabeth.
    And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office _before God in the order of his course… ” Luke 1:5,8 _At this point Zacharias demonstrated his amazing faithfulness to his _duties as a priest. Even though he had been given the wonderful news by the _angel that he and Elisabeth would have a son, Zacharias stayed in the temple _until the days of his course were completed.
    “And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration _were accomplished, he departed to his own house. And after those days his _wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months…” Luke 1:23-24 _The passage then describes how an angel came to Mary to announce that _she was to be the virgin mother of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus. The _scripture says: _”And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a _city of Galilee, named Nazareth. To a virgin espoused to a man whose name _was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary…” Luke _1:26-27 _And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with _haste, into a city of Judah; and entered into the house of Zacharias, and _saluted Elisabeth.” Luke 1:39-40
    Contained within these quoted passages are scriptures which point to _the exact time when Jesus was born. (Remember that God puts every word and _every detail into the Bible exactly as He wants it and for a purpose.) The _underlined words are the key.
    In Luke 1:5 and Luke 1:8, we are told that Zacharias was a priest of _the course of Abia and that he fulfilled his priestly duties in the order of _his course. To understand the importance of the course of Abia and its _bearing on the date of John the Baptist’s conception, it is necessary to turn _to 1Chronicles 24:1-10. This passage describes how a thousand years before _Christ, King David established the courses for priestly service in the coming _temple. Twenty-four courses were established and numbered by drawing lots – _twelve courses for sanctuary service and twelve for the government of the _house of God.
    Members of each course would serve during a month starting with the _Hebrew month of Nisan. (Because of the way the Hebrew calendar fluctuates, _the month Nisan can start anytime between early March and early April.) The _sons of Abijah (the Old Testament spelling for Abia) were in the eighth _course. Priests of Abia like Zacharias would, therefore, have each _ministered for some days during the eighth month which in some years because _of the fluctuation in the Hebrew calendar started as early as the fifth day _of our month of October. Zacharias would have returned home when his days of _service were accomplished and John the Baptist could have been conceived _sometime between October 15 and the end of the month.
    After conception the scripture says that Elisabeth hid herself for _five months. Then in the sixth month of her pregnancy (which, based on the _above calculation, would have started about March 15 and continued until _April 15) the angel announced to the Virgin Mary that the Lord Jesus would _be conceived in her womb by the Holy Ghost. If this took place on or about _April 1 a “normal” gestation period of 270 days would have then had the Lord _Jesus due on or about December 25. How about that!
    There are other scriptural and natural indicators that confirm that _the Lord was born at Christmas time. IN the account of His birth in Luke _2:8, we read: _”And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, _keeping watch over their flock by night.”
    My son-in-law, who has a degree in agriculture, after hearing the _above presentation, told me, “Certainly, the Lord Jesus was born at _Christmas. The only time shepherds spend the night in the fields with their _sheep is during the time when the lambs are born. The ewes become _’attractive’ to the rams in the month after June 21, the longest day of the _year. The normal gestation period is five months so the ewes start lambing _about mid-December.” He added: Isn’t it natural that the Lamb of God who _takes away the sin of the world would be born when all the other lambs are _born?
    This “coincidence” was too amazing for me to accept until I checked _it out. A former teacher from the school where I am the administrator is _married to a Montana sheep rancher. She confirmed what I had been told. She _said, “Oh, yes! None of the men who have flocks are in church for weeks at _Christmas. They have to be in the fields day and night to clean up and care _for the lambs as soon as they are born or many would perish in the cold.” _Isn’t that neat? God’s Lamb, who was to die for the sins of the world, was _born when all the other little lambs are born. Because He came and died the _centuries old practice of sacrificing lambs for sin could end.
    There is another neat confirmation that God had His Son born at _Christmas. The days at the end of December are the shortest (and therefore _the darkest days) of the year. Jesus Christ said, “I am the light of the _world.” So at the time of the year when the darkness is greatest, God the _Father sent God the Son to be the Light of the world.
    The Lord Jesus Christ came to earth, lived a sinless life and was _therefore qualified to pay the penalty for the sins of all mankind (which is _death). He paid it all- but all do not benefit from the wondrous gift God _bestowed on mankind at Christmas.
    “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as _received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them _that believe on his name.” John 1:11-12
    John Stormer, Pastor Emeritus _Heritage Baptist Church, Florissant, MO _from the PCC Update, Winter 1996 (The ABeka magazine) _(PCC – Pensacola Christian College)

  24. Robin says

    I have read or heard much of this before. However, it is a nice seasonal reminder. A woman in my diet club — a convinced Pagan — just reminded all of us of the Winter Solstice and that the event she celebrates is “much older than Christianity” which she believes simply co-opted the dates for its own purposes. As this article suggests, she would be using a comparative-religions approach to the interpretation of the Christmas event — an approach that is not as ancient, necessarily, as she supposes., and a view that some or many now question. The above article gives alternate perspectives, and for that I am quite grateful.

  25. William says

    From the Holy Scriptures we’re able to deduce the true date of the Messiah’s birth. Indirectly therefore, we celebrate it by following The Commandments and keeping (to the best of our ability) the High Holy Days of the Old Testament, which is what the writers’ of the New Testament did.
    There is a significance to the days and times given us to observe and keep. These dates are not therefore to be confused with the days and times set by man in the name of their deity.
    Shepards’ did not tend their (grazing) flocks in the middle of winter and there was no scriptural reason or census for the family of the Messiah to visit Jerusalem at that time!

  26. Alan says

    This is a horribly researched article, and BAS should be ashamed for (re-)publishing it. Through the calendrical documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) and the Book of Luke, it is relatively easy to discern not only when Christ was born but when Yochanan (John) and He were conceived! Here’s a quick article that I recently blogged:
    ======
    Why do Biblical “scholars” have a problem with the Luke-Acts accounts — with the former EXPLICITLY in chronological order — written to Mattathias ben Theophilus in 65-66 CE when he served as kohen gadol (high priest) before the fall of Jerusalem? The census of Quirinius certainly occurred in 6 CE. When one comes to understand that the “Essenes” were actually the sect called THE WAY (Heb. HaDerech) in Acts, then these Biblical accounts become crystal clear. The Qumran calendar from the DSS resolves it all; see http://www.haderech.info/DSS/Calendar/QumranCalendar.pdf.

    Elisheba (Elizabeth) was six month’s pregnant in the sixth month; that was when Yehoshu’a (Joshua; “Jesus” is derived from the Latin transliteration NOT the translation) was conceived when Miryam (Mary) visited her. The key is that Yochanan (John) was conceived six months earlier after Tsekharya (Zechariah) served during the mishmar (course/division) of Abiyah (Abijah) in the twelfth month. The only time that occurs is in Course Year 3 of 6 from the 14th through the 20th. Tsekharya could not travel more than a Sabbath day’s journey (i.e., 2,000 cubits) on the 21st. Therefore, Yochanan was conceived on the 22nd of the 12th month in 4 CE. EXACTLY six months later, Yehoshu’a was conceived on the Feast of New Oil (22nd of the 6th month) in 5 CE. He was born full term — EXACTLY 38 weeks from conception — on the Feast of Weeks (15th of the 3rd month) in 6 CE. That certainly coincides with the first census of Quirinius. I even verified what the star of Bet Lechem (Bethlehem) was with our local planetarium.

    The same holds true of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. Yehoshu’a was crucified as the unblemished Lamb of God on Pasach (Passover) on 14 Abib in 36 CE. He was quickly buried before the first day of Unleavened Bread on 15 Abib, which is an ANNUAL Sabbath. He was dead and buried for three FULL days and nights per the Jonah prophesy on 15-17 Abib. Christ arose as the Lord of the (weekly) Sabbath on 18 Abib, which was — not coincidentally — when Jehoiarib first served (after originally being selected by lot). The Order of Malki-tsedeq (Melchizedek) supplanted that of the imperfect Levitical priesthood. Finally, His empty tomb was discovered early on the first day of the week (19 Abib)!

    He never reached 30 years of age; that is also consistent with the Scriptures. Those “scholars” who think His ministry lasted three years as three Passovers are mentioned fail to understand there is a Second Passover on the 14th of the second month per Torah (Law).

    PLEASE start putting the Scriptures in a Hebraic perspective as they were intended and written! Also, understand that the modern Masoretic (Jewish) calendar is based on the Babylonian model and is certainly NOT from the Most High! Naming the fourth month after the Babylonian deity Tammuz is an abomination; see https://www.mail-archive.com/orion@panda.mscc.huji.ac.il/msg00674.html.

  27. Doc says

    I believe Christmas is a moot point in every respect.
    I was raised a Roman Catholic and at age 42 started looking into my faith and after several years of reading what are actually ancient documents that were translated verbatim into english I found the christian man made religion is simply a ‘man made entity’ with no connection to God other than what they claim themselves.

    As for a savior? God himself states it clearly in the Book of Hosea where he says
    ‘Besides me there is no other Savior’.

    Since the Book of Hosea is in all christian bibles (it’s just the Hebrew/Jewish Word or Torah or Tanakh) it makes one wonder why they would have conflicting statements and in the end turn their backs on Gods words and take the word of writings dated only as far back as the First Council of Nicaea or the First Ecumenical Council, 325 to 328 AD when the first christian bibles were scripted.

    It’s no different than Islam or any other man made religion IMHO.

  28. Robert says

    You guys are too clever for your own good!!
    If Jesus was the Passover Lamb then surely he would have been born at the same time as the sacrificial lambs & executed at the same time.
    MARCH/APRIL.(Nissan) I submit April 1st as the DOB hidden by pagans as April Fools Day!!

  29. Gary says

    If Revelation 12 references Yeshua’s birthday?
    Then it was right after sunset, of 9-11-03 B.C.E. That astrological setup, happens about once every 30 years.
    And then, if he was two weeks premature (not unusual for a first child, at 13 years of age), his conception would be about 12-26-04 B.C.E. Which began, at sunset of 12-25-04 B.C.E.
    You cannot celebrate His birth – For no one, back then, celebrated birthdays, because they did not know when they were conceived. They counted your birth, as being your year one, already.
    He told you to celebrate only His death.
    Herod’s death, was close to the B.C.E. – C.E. dividing point. It was near the Passover, and an eclipse in Jerusalem, and there is an earthquake thrown in there, somewhere. It comes out to being 1 B.C.E., when you do the timeline. He was dying, and his sons were ruling in his stead the last 3+ years.
    He sent his troops out to kill the children up to two (one, to us); the wise men had showed up later, when the Holy Family were living in town.
    The shepherds put the sheep in the harvested fields before October back then, in Israel. They eat up the straw and weeds, and so forth, and fertilize all of the fields with their droppings, in the winter.
    Shepherds were not well liked; these nomads, were considered to be thieves. But the sheep and goat droppings, which convert the chaff and weeds to fertilizer, were desirable to the farming people, who lived in the small towns.
    Bethlehem was pretty small, back then. A city back then, was like a village or a small town is, today.
    Sheep need no shepherd watching over them, once they are closed in the fields, close to town. One guy, can handle a bunch of flocks. The lions and the wolves, are generally more up in the hills, and not close to the towns. The fields all had stone walls, and / or thorn hedges.
    So, the shepherds showed up at the manger, right after Yeshua’s birth.
    Herod’s sending out of the troops?
    Would be by 9-11-02 B.C.E. Around then, not much later, as he died in the following spring.
    Herod had his sons rule before, with the two sons he killed off. Josephus says of one of them, that he was effectively the king. They only lacked the crown itself.
    The dating of Herod’s death to 4 B.C.E., is based upon extant coinage. But you often predated your rule, on the coins that you issued. This has been found, in the ancient world.
    Most successions, were not as abrupt as people think that they were. You kept giving your son more-and-more power and authority while you lived, to try him out, to see if he was fit to rule.
    The sons who Herod killed, also had coins made in their names, while Herod was still alive. These two, didn’t work out, as kings.
    There are also 4 Jewish calendars, and the Roman one. And if you ruled for a part of a year?
    To the Romans, that was a full year, of your reign. Your successor, thus began his reign on the first day of the following year, no matter when he actually started being Emperor.
    All of that, has to be considered in analyzing the data.
    The grain, the bread, is the sign of the Harvester, Virgo. She used to be shown holding a shock of wheat, or a loaf of bread.
    The twin fishes, are the sign of Pisces.
    Virgo, is fall; Pisces, is spring. Both of them, reference harvest seasons.
    Unusable fish, of the catch?
    Are fertilizer, for the spring planting. The Ancient World, was a hardscrabble existence. And anything which could be harvested, and sold, was.
    The Ancients believed that your major stars, were designated by your birthdate. Your minor stars, are of the astrological sign, of 6 months later.
    You do not believe that astrology has anything to do with the Bible? Then why the twins (Gemini) and the archer on horseback (Chiron; Sagittarius) in Genesis? The bulls of Egypt (Taurus) and the scorpions of Sinai (Scorpio) of the Exodus? The rams (Aires) and the scales of Judgment and good measure and the recording of the Books (Libra) of Canaanite Leviticus?
    Then Pisces (the fishes) and Virgo (the Harvester; the bread; the grain) of the Galilee of the Gospels?
    And today – The Promised Bearer of Living Waters (Aquarius) of the clay vessel, and the Spirit of God, the Lion of Judah (Leo) Within, of the Revelation
    And Ophiuchus – the Serpent-Carrier – Overshadows Sagittarius – And the Serpent, is amongst a third of the Stars, of the sky. The constellation is that long…
    Moses, has to fit in here, somewhere…
    Yeshua likely was crucified on 4-3-33 C.E.; He would have been about 36, by then.
    9-11-03 B.C.E. to 4-3-33 C.E., is 32 + 2 years + 3 months and 3 days + 3 months and 19 days. Which gives you, 34 years, 6 months, 22 days.
    But if you add on the time in the womb?
    You add on 166 days, or 5 months and 14 days. Which gives you, 35 years, 2 months, and 2 days.
    35, relates to 3.5 – A time, times, and half-a-time, is 1 + 2 + 0.5 = 3.5.
    It all works out – To make Christmas about His conception day, and Easter about His death, and the fall festivals, about His birth.
    The twins (Gemini) and the archer on horseback (Chiron; Sagittarius) – The first 2,000 years.
    The bulls of Egypt (Taurus) and the scorpions of Sinai (Scorpio) – The second 2,000 years.
    The rams (Aires) and the scales of Judgment of the Books (Libra) – The third 2,000 years.
    Pisces (the fishes) and Virgo (the Harvester; the bread; the grain) – The fourth 2,000 years.
    The Promised Bearer of Living Waters (Aquarius) of the clay vessel – 1,000 years.
    The Spirit of God – The Lion of Judah (Leo) Within, of the Revelation – 1,000 years.
    Total? 10,000 years.
    The first 2,000, predate Abraham, still in Ur.
    The next 2,000, take you to the start of the conquest of Canaan, via the enslavement, in Egypt.
    The next 2,000, take you to the period of the destruction of Israel and Judah and the Temple, and Yeshua’s Time.
    The next 2,000, take you up to today…
    The final 2,000?
    The Millennial Reign, of God On earth, for 1,000 years? Aquarius, represents that.
    And then the 1,000 years, of the Release of the Dragon? Leo…
    Happy Chanukah – Merry Christmas – Happy New Year.

  30. Alan says

    Mithras was in “Christmas” LONG before Christ’s “birthdate” was even conceived by the Scythian monk named Dionysius Exiguus (or Dennis the Small). He also “invented” our modern day Easter tables (yet another assimilated pagan rite) and the Anno Domini (A.D.) method of reckoning years. All are grossly incorrect. See https://www.westarinstitute.org/resources/the-fourth-r/dionysius-exiguus/ and https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dionysius_Exiguus.

    Unfortunately, what the first article overlooks is the Book of Luke. “Herod” was a dynastic title much like Caesar and Pharaoh. The census of Quirinius occurred in 6 CE (common era) while Herod Archelaus reigned; see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Census_of_Quirinius. Herod the Great was long dead. Herod Archelaus was deposed later that year and died in exile in 18 CE; see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herod_Archelaus. (Isn’t it interesting that the “holy family” returned from Egypt AFTER Herod Archelaus died when Christ was 12 years old? 18 CE – 6 CE = 12 years).

    The only verse that refutes these facts is Matthew 2:22. Here is that passage in context:

    Matthew 2:21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene. (NASB)

    The problem with this passage is that the earliest extant manuscript containing Matthew 2:22 is from the FOURTH century! See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Matthew#Background. The Background section appears as follows:

    “The original versions of the Gospel of Matthew and the other gospels are lost. The oldest relatively complete extant manuscripts of the Bible are the Codex Vaticanus and the Codex Sinaiticus, which date from the 4th century. Besides these, there exist manuscript fragments ranging from a few verses to whole chapters. Papyrus 104 and Papyrus 67 are notable fragments of Matthew. These are copies of copies. In the process of recopying, variations slipped in, different regional manuscript traditions emerged, and corrections and adjustments were made. Modern textual scholars collate all major surviving manuscripts, as well as citations in the works of the Church Fathers, in order to produce a text which most likely approximates to the lost autographs.”

    Further emphasis: “…variations slipped in, different regional manuscript traditions emerged, and corrections and adjustments were made.”

    Were there not warnings not to add to nor take away from the Scriptures? So, either this passage has been tampered with or the passage in Luke has; they are incongruent. Herod the Great was not alive in 6 CE — during the census of Quirinius — as he died in 4 BCE; see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herod_the_Great.

    Isn’t it interesting how the Book of Luke is discounted by most Biblical “scholars?” In fact, Luke and Acts were written to the same person: Mattathias ben Theophilus (aka the “most excellent Theophilus”) who served as the kohen gadol (high priest) in Jerusalem in 65-66 CE — prior to its fall to the Romans; see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mattathias_ben_Theophilus. Note: Caiaphas’ name was Yosef ben Caiaphas; the same pattern was employed to reference Theophilus.

    How many of you have noticed the following in Biblical footnotes: “Not found in earlier mss (manuscripts)?” Yes, some passages in our Bible as well as church traditions have been manufactured and/or assimilated from paganism. Fortunately, the essential truths remain for our salvation.

    Most Christians are unaware of the truth regarding Christmas; they just blindly follow “church traditions.” The truth was not actually known until the discovery and dissemination of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Now, we know with great certainty not only when Christ was born (the Feast of Weeks in 6 CE — around when Memorial Day is observed in America), but when John and He were conceived! Yes, much paganism was assimilated through the Catholic Church, and those false traditions carried over unchecked after the Protestant Reformation.

    For those truly interested in the history of Christmas, The History Channel did an admirable job several years back in the documentary entitled “Christmas Unwrapped: The History of Christmas;” see https://youtu.be/XSQYX-OB1Rs.

    Some have asked: Why is this important? Bottom line: God does everything in accordance with His appointed times on His calendar. In fact, there are no appointed times during the winter months; see http://www.haderech.info/DSS/Calendar/QumranCalendar.pdf. Christmas is not of God; Christmas is about Mithra(s)! See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithraism.

  31. Dudley says

    Did You Know

    Andrew McGowan’s article lacked the following important information, in regards to the use of December 25West, and January 7 in the East in the celebration of Christmas!

    Due to a difference in the Georgian and Julian calendars, Jan. 6 marks Christmas Eve for many Orthodox churches and Christmas will be celebrated on the 7th.
    The majority of the Orthodox churches worldwide use the Julian calendar, created under the reign of Julius Caesar in 45 BC, and have not adopted the Gregorian calendar, proposed by Latin Pope Gregory of Rome in 1582.

    There are 13 days in difference between the two calendars, the Gregorian calendar being the one long adopted by Western nations. December 25 on the Julian calendar actually falls on January 7 on the Gregorian calendar. So strictly speaking, Christmas is still kept on December 25, which just happens to fall 13 days later on the Julian calendar.

    For Orthodox Christians who have adopted the Gregorian calendar, Christmas falls on Dec. 25 as it does for others, and Jan. 6 marks the Epiphany, a Christian holiday that celebrates the revelation of God the son as a human being in Jesus. For those remaining on the Julian calendar, the Epiphany is celebrated on Jan. 19.

    Adoption of the Gregorian calendar among Orthodox churches varies among jurisdictions within the denomination. Though many Orthodox in the United States have made the switch, former Soviet Union and Middle Eastern churches tend towards the “Old Calendar.”

  32. Dudley says

    Why Holy Church Celebrates Christmas On December 25? Andrew McGowan also forgotten that Christmas, the Feast of Christ’s Nativity, is a polemic against paganism.

    In one of the ancient hymn( troparion) of the Nativity of Christ we sing:
    “Your nativity, O Christ our God, has shone to the world the light of wisdom. For by it, those who worshipped the stars were taught by a star to adore you, the Sun of Righteousness, and to know you, the Orient from on high.”

    In the “Proper Prefaces” of the Eucharistic Liturgy of the Church in the Province of the West Indies (Anglican) the Celebrant says,
    “Because you gave Jesus Christ, your only Son, to be born for us; who, by the mighty power of the Holy Spirit, was made perfect Man of the flesh of the Virgin Mary his mother; so that we might be delivered from bondage of sin, and receive power to become your children” (BCP 127).

    The Nativity of Christ is the liturgical celebration of the birth of Christ in the Christian Church that was put on the very day of the Birth of the Invincible Sun, the “dies natali solus invictus,” the physical sun in the sky that those whom we call pagans were worshipping, the coming of the new sun in the springtime when things are going to start getting lighter. The twenty-fifth of December was called the birthday of the Invincible Sun, the sun in the sky. The Christians made a polemic against that.

    In general, this troparion of Christmas is a polemic against paganism.
    That is why the song was put on the very day of that particular pagan festival that the Christians were now co-opting, and saying what is really to be celebrated today, what is really to be acknowledged and confessed and proclaimed is the Gospel of Christ.
    That the nativity is not of the physical sun in the sky being born in the springtime, as the days get longer, but it is the nativity of Christ, our God.

    The song begins, “Your nativity, O Christ, our God, has shone to the world the light of wisdom.” It is the light of knowledge, actually. “Wisdom” is an incorrect translation here. It is the light of knowledge, meaning that it is Christ’s birth that brings the real light, the spiritual light, to the world—not the physical light, but the real light, the light of God, which is the light of knowledge, the light of wisdom.

    Then it says, “For by it”—the nativity—“those who worshipped the stars”—the stars are also suns, they are also shining lights in the sky—“were taught by a star.” In St. Matthew’s Gospel, the magi from the East are brought to where Jesus is born by a star. There is a special star in the sky that proclaims the birth of the Messiah, the nativity of the Messiah. Those who were stargazers, astrologists, who were worshipping stars, adoring stars, trying to find out the truth about creation in stars, are now taught by a star.

    And what are they taught to do? They are taught “to adore you, to worship you, the Sun of Righteousness,” helios dikaiosynis, the Sun of Righteousness. That is from Malachi 4:2.

    “And to know you,” and now we have this other expression, “the Orient from on high (the dawn from on high).” That is from St. Luke 1:78, from the Benedictus, from Zechariah’s hymn when John the Baptist is born.
    The orient from high will visit us, it says, the dayspring on high, the oriens ex alto, as it says in Latin, the anatoli ex ipsus. This sun will come visiting us, “to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace”(Luke 1:79). That is a quotation of Isaiah, and that is also found in St. Matthew’s Gospel.

    In the Anglican Liturgy we are further reminded that the “oriens ex alto” came to deliver us “from the bondage of sin (Matthew 1:21), and [has enabled us to] receive power to become children of God (John 1:12).

    Just as how the Jews in adapting the Babylonian Creation Myth (Genesis 1:1-2:3) and reinterpret it as a polemic against the gods of Babylon, so the Church used the Nativity of the “Sun of Righteousness” as a polemic against paganism.

  33. Joe says

    Jesus was born on December 24 or 25 2 BC, not 9/11, not August, but December. The answer is in the Infancy Gospel of James ( a discarded gospel but very reliable resource). Mary laid her baby in an ox manger when she found out the Magi and Herod were looking for him which it is clearly known that he was laid in the manger the same day of birth. The bethlehem star shined on December 25, 2 bc. This was the day the Magi visited. All of these events happened on the same day. There is even a tablet the reads Christ is born in Bethlehem, December 25, 2 BC

  34. Alan says

    It’s interesting that the author failed to mention who actually set the date of December 25th… It was the Scythian monk and very poor mathematician Dionysius Exiguus. Not only did he invent the erroneous Anno Domini (A.D.) system — as Christ was born on the Feast of Weeks in 6 CE per the Lucan account and the calendar/priestly courses in the Dead Sea Scrolls, but he set the date of the “Nativity” based off his faulty Easter Tables. How does such a learned man not know this? There are so many errors in the article; it’s a travesty. Is this what modern “Biblical scholarship” has become?

1 3 4 5

Continuing the Discussion

  1. this went thru my mind | linked to this post on December 8, 2012

    […] * How December 25 Became Christmas by Andrew McGowan; * Separating Fact from Fiction in the Nativity Story – Christmas Myths Exposed […]

  2. December 25th and Christmas: Pagan or Jewish? « Nineteenth Dynasty linked to this post on December 10, 2012

    […] article on December 25th and Christmas – biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical… […]

  3. Christmas and December 25 | Leadingchurch.com linked to this post on December 10, 2012

    […] From Biblical Archeology. This is about how Jesus birth got put in Christmas. Share this:EmailPrintFacebookTwitterGoogle +1MoreDiggRedditStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry was posted in Daily Links and Notes. Bookmark the permalink. ← Advocacy vs. Accountability […]

  4. How December 25 Became Christmas « Vine Of Life News linked to this post on December 15, 2012

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  5. Was Jesus Born On Christmas? linked to this post on December 15, 2012

    […] Andrew McGowan   •  12/07/2012  Thanks to Biblical Archaeology […]

  6. How December 25 Became Christmas « The Ginger Jar linked to this post on December 16, 2012

    […] indication that Jesus’ birth was not marked with similar festivities at that place and time.1 As far as we can tell, Christmas was not celebrated at all at this […]

  7. The Twelve Links of Christmas | Watch Heavenlyvideo linked to this post on December 22, 2012

    […] How December 25 Became Christmas, in case you’ve ever wondered. […]

  8. The true meaning of Christmas(‘s date) | Jaskology linked to this post on December 22, 2012

    […] Read here for more details. […]

  9. Why do we celebrate Jesus’s birth on December 25? | Holy Post | National Post linked to this post on December 24, 2012

    […] Continue reading at Bible History Daily RelatedHoly miscalculation: The entire Christian calendar is based on a sixth-century monk’s ‘mistake,’ Pope saysKelly McParland: Why the Pope’s new book provides an historic opportunity to delink Christ from Dec. 25How much of the Christmas story is really true? […]

  10. Why December 25> | Tim Archer's Kitchen of Half-Baked Thoughts linked to this post on December 24, 2012

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  11. Why December 25th? [reblog] « The Lonely Disciple linked to this post on December 24, 2012

    […] great article from the website of Biblical Archaeology Magazine: How December 25 Became Christmas The Bible offers few clues: Celebrations of Jesus’ Nativity are not mentioned in the Gospels or […]

  12. On the Date of the Eve of the Celebration of Christ’s Birth » A Few Good Words linked to this post on December 24, 2012

    […] Both the blogs refer to an article in Biblical History Daily, “How December 25 Became Christmas,” located here http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/how-december-25-became-christ… […]

  13. How December 25 Became Christmas « Samwel Bartolo 2012/2013 linked to this post on December 25, 2012

    […] indication that Jesus’ birth was not marked with similar festivities at that place and time.1 As far as we can tell, Christmas was not celebrated at all at this […]

  14. Why Celebrate Christmas When We Do? » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog linked to this post on December 26, 2012

    […] pagans. Not so, apparently. Here is William J. Tighe on Calculating Christmas and Andrew McGowan on How December 25 Became Christmas. McGowan writes: There is another way to account for the origins of Christmas on December 25: […]

  15. CHRISTMAS AFTERMATH « the heart thrills linked to this post on December 26, 2012

    […] (1)McGowan, Andrew. “How December 25 Became Christmas”, http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/how-december-25-became-christ… […]

  16. Dating Christmas « thereformedmind linked to this post on December 27, 2012

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  17. Christmas Readings linked to this post on December 30, 2012

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  18. The 5:2 Diet – Christmas | Land of Oak and Iron linked to this post on December 31, 2012

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  19. How December 25 Became Christmas | press-inside linked to this post on January 5, 2013

    […] from January 6 to December 25 so that it fell on the same date as the pagan Sol Invictus holiday.5 In the 18th and 19th centuries, Bible scholars spurred on by the new study of comparative religions […]

  20. How December 25 Became Christmas – Biblical Archaeology Society | Merolog Web Host linked to this post on January 24, 2013

    […] How December 25 Became Christmas – Biblical Archaeology Society Tags: christmas, […]

  21. When the Christians met the Pagans | Bjørn Stærk linked to this post on May 11, 2013

    […] was taken from the Roman celebration of Sol Invictus. More plausibly, December 25 happens to be 9 months after the death of Jesus. This would mean that he was killed and conceived on the same day, a nice […]

  22. Could Seventh-day Adventist Celebrate Christmas? | Simul Justus Et Peccator Blog linked to this post on August 22, 2013

    […] [15] Finally, in about 200 C.E., a Christian teacher in Egypt makes reference to the date Jesus was born. According to Clement of Alexandria, several different days had been proposed by various Christian groups. Surprising as it may seem, Clement doesn’t mention December 25 at all. Clement writes: “There are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord’s birth, but also the day; and they say that it took place in the 28th year of Augustus, and in the 25th day of [the Egyptian month] Pachon [May 20 in our calendar] … And treating of His Passion, with very great accuracy, some say that it took place in the 16th year of Tiberius, on the 25th of Phamenoth [March 21]; and others on the 25th of Pharmuthi [April 21] and others say that on the 19th of Pharmuthi [April 15] the Savior suffered. Further, others say that He was born on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi [April 20 or 21].” See: Clement, Stromateis 1.21.145. In addition, Christians in Clement’s native Egypt seem to have known a commemoration of Jesus’ baptism—sometimes understood as the moment of his divine choice, and hence as an alternate “incarnation” story—on the same date (Stromateis 1.21.146). See further on this point Thomas J. Talley, Origins of the Liturgical Year, 2nd ed. (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991), pp. 118–120, drawing on Roland H. Bainton, “Basilidian Chronology and New Testament Interpretation,” Journal of Biblical Literature 42 (1923), pp. 81–134; and now especially Gabriele Winkler, “The Appearance of the Light at the Baptism of Jesus and the Origins of the Feast of the Epiphany,” in Maxwell Johnson, ed., Between Memory and Hope: Readings on the Liturgical Year (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2000), pp. 291–347. I am indebted to Andrew McGowan, on his article entitled, “How December 25 Became Christmas,” (http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/how-december-25-became-christ…). […]

  23. The 12 things I hate about Christmas | blondehairbrowndog linked to this post on November 11, 2013

    […] 2. Jesus wasn’t even BORN in December. He was more likely born in March.  Not the Winter. Do you really think that the Shepherds would have been tending to their flock outside in the middle of winter? No. It gets cold in Israel . It snows. Just not on Jesus’ birthday. There’s a great article about how December 25th became Christmas here […]

  24. Voice in the Wilderness linked to this post on November 17, 2013

    […] related in apocryphal writings such as the Infancy Gospel of Thomas and the Proto-Gospel of James.b These texts provide everything from the names of Jesus’ grandparents to the details of his […]

  25. Christian Christmas Grinches | Briarwood & Cloud linked to this post on November 20, 2013

    […] As though the Incarnation is not an essential, miraculous, mysterious, wondrous faith event to be contemplated and meditated on and celebrated in… oh… say February.  As though Jesus was really born on December 25th. […]

  26. How the real meaning of Christmas has been forgotten by Ken Grant | Celebrations 360 linked to this post on November 25, 2013

    […] Jesus. While the Easter celebration tradition is very early in the Christian historical record, the Christmas celebration took more time to develop. It was not until the fourth century that the western church tradition […]

  27. How December 25th Became Christmas | New Life Narrabri linked to this post on December 1, 2013

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  28. The Christmas Propaganda War | Daniel Tomberlin linked to this post on December 2, 2013

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  29. Word Up 245 — New Church Family newsletter | GayDaytona.com linked to this post on December 4, 2013

    […] For more details, here is the link to McGowan’s article — http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/how-december-25-became-christ… […]

  30. The reason for the season? | The Unpackaged Eye linked to this post on December 4, 2013

    […] a claim than Jesus to be “the reason for the season” of Christmas. Scholars have also proposed that the date of Christmas was set at nine months after the Passover, on the assumption that Jesus […]

  31. This Week’s Best in Catholic Apologetics -/- DavidLGray.INFO linked to this post on December 6, 2013

    […] Abortion Is a Threat to the Very Existence of the Nation – Agenzia Fides TIMELY CLASSIC: How December 25 Became Christmas – Andrew McGowan VIDEO: Steven Lawson – Catholic Convert from Agnosticism – The […]

  32. The coming of the light | ThinkBannedThoughts Blog linked to this post on December 6, 2013

    […] No, not the baby Jesus, he was born in the spring. […]

  33. December 25 | Young Adults of Christ the King linked to this post on December 9, 2013

    […] By Nancy Mitchell When was Jesus born? Not on December 25th. Probably sometime in the spring, with an unwed mother and some dirty shepherds (and an angel choir) to celebrate the balmy night of his birth. So why do we celebrate his nativity at the very end of the year? Pagans. That’s when the Romans used to celebrate the winter solstice. It was their holiday, the story goes, and we stole it. Cleverly, we appropriated it, and made it all about a little baby born in a barn. Centuries before his birth, throughout the Roman world the end of December marked the celebration of ‘the waxing of the light.’* Living as we do in an age of electric lighting, I don’t think we truly understand darkness. I remember the first time I went camping. I was 14. I didn’t realize it was possible for it to be that dark. I literally could not see my hand in front of my face. The tenuous light of a flashlight, the faraway light of the stars: I had never known I could be so grateful for these little things. The pagans understood darkness. They lived with darkness. On the winter solstice they celebrated the longest night of the year. It was an article of faith to them that the light would come again. They had not been forgotten. It would not be this dark ever again. I don’t think we understand darkness. Our world is full of injustice, and we are far more complacent than we ought to be. Sometimes I hate to read the news, because there are so many bad things happening and it seems so hopeless. It would be easier not to think about it at all. But there is no reason to be afraid. We can face the darkness and still rejoice, because we know that the night is already over. The true light that gives light to all men has come into the world.** On the night that he was born, the darkness began to abate. Peace on earth, said the angels, and goodwill towards men. It would never be this dark, ever again. The pagans understood darkness. They knew what it mean to wait, in darkness, for a long, long time. They loved the light, and they celebrated its return. How appropriate, then, for us to celebrate his birth at the darkest time of the year. Our light has come. *Two Roman winter solstice festivals were Brumalia and Saturnalia. The festival of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, or the birthday of the sun god, was celebrated in Rome on December 25, but it is unclear whether this festival predated Christmas or not. **This is John 1:9. ***Some scholars reject entirely the idea that the December 25th date was chosen for its coincidence with the Winter Solstice (or with the birthday of the sun god) and instead maintain that December 25th was chosen because it was nine months distant from March 25, celebrated as the day of the Annunciation. More on that here and here. […]

  34. How December 25 Became Christmas | De Civitate Dei linked to this post on December 10, 2013

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  35. A Blended Christmas Story | Simplicity Redesigned linked to this post on December 12, 2013

    […] Bible History Daily […]

  36. Why Christmas in December? | Writings of Branko's Blog linked to this post on December 13, 2013

    […] from Andrew McGowan. It is quite inspiring and has a lot of interesting facts from the past: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/how-december-25-became-christ… Share this:FacebookEmailTwitterPrintGoogleLinkedInLike this:Like […]

  37. Reblog: How December 25 Became Christmas | Everywhere Present Filling All Things linked to this post on December 15, 2013

    […] related in apocryphal writings such as the Infancy Gospel of Thomas and the Proto-Gospel of James.b These texts provide everything from the names of Jesus’ grandparents to the details of his […]

  38. Why is Christmas on December 25? | Praedicare linked to this post on December 15, 2013

    […] refer to this link.  I thank Biblical Archeology for this […]

  39. Christmas Wars: Then and Now | Veracity linked to this post on December 17, 2013

    […] Much of this post was adapted from the resources I link to above, but by far the most informative article I found was from BiblicalArchaeology.org, by Andrew McGowan, President …. […]

  40. Julekildene | Bjørn Are Davidsens blogg linked to this post on December 18, 2013

    […] den romerske delen har Andrew McGowan en bra gjennomgang i How December 25 became Christmas der han oppsummerer diskusjonen i lys av […]

  41. Some of my Favorite Christmas Characters: Mary and Nicholas | Creation Science 4 Kids linked to this post on December 18, 2013

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  42. Onko joulu sittenkin alunperin kristillinen juhla? linked to this post on December 18, 2013

    […] Andrew McGowan: How December 25 became Christmas? Bible History Daily, vierailtu 18.12. […]

  43. Noah's Ark Has Been Found. Why Are They Keeping Us In The Dark? December 13, 2013 - Page 6 linked to this post on December 24, 2013

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  44. Merry Christmas 2013 | Mr. Cool linked to this post on December 24, 2013

    […] did some online research and found some interesting article. Rate this:Like this:Like […]

  45. December 25 Feast of the Day – The Nativity of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ | The Onion Dome linked to this post on December 25, 2013

    […] December 25 (Chronicon Blog) Sol Invictus evidently not a precursor to Christmas (Chronicon Blog) How December 25 Became Christmas (Bible History Daily) Sol Invictus (Wikipedia) Icon from stjohnmemphis.com (Public domain according to this rule). The […]

  46. How December 25 Became Christmas | Taylor Halverson linked to this post on December 25, 2013

    […] An insightful article on Biblical Archaeology about the dating of Christmas and other Christian holi…  Some argue that Jesus was conceived on April 6, born on January 6, and crucified on April 6.  Cyclical views of time where significant events fall on certain, specific, special days (perhaps borrowing from Judaism) may be more informative to the development of these dating traditions rather than linear notions of time, which are quite western. […]

  47. I am a Muslim that Celebrates Christmas – And You Should Too | Pakistanis for Peace linked to this post on December 26, 2013

    […] of the pagan god Mithra (also referred to as the sun) which was the pagan god of light. With Constantine accepting Hazrat Isa as the Messiah (meaning saviour) he declared that Hazrat Isa was the true […]

  48. The holiday in disguise | Nova Safo linked to this post on December 26, 2013

    […] And, of course, we know through lots of scholarly research that December 25 is almost certainly not the actual date of Jesus’ birth. Sure, we may spend a few hours in church. Personally, I love midnight mass on Christmas Eve, […]

  49. Get It Right and Prepare For The Coming of The Lord | christisourvictory linked to this post on December 27, 2013

    […] Maybe. The standard story is that December 25 was adopted after Constantine’s conversion to Christianity because it was on a pagan holiday and the winter solstice. Christians then co-opted the holiday and Christianized it. What’s interesting is that the early church put almost no emphasis on celebrating the birth of Christ. They were much more concerned with the resurrection. It’s not until AD 200 where possible dates are mentioned for the celebrating of Christ’s birth. By about AD 300 there were two dates: December 25 (for the west) and January 6 (for the east). There does seem to be a tradition of December 25 long before Constantine’s conversion, so that’s why I say maybe. This article from the Biblical Archaeology Review gives a good summary of “How December 25 Became Christmas.” http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/how-december-25-became-christ… […]

  50. How December 25th Became Christmas | D's Blog linked to this post on December 27, 2013

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  51. the Jesus Event | End of Year Happenings linked to this post on December 27, 2013

    […] I wanted to share with you an excellent article from the Biblical Archaeological Review. You can check out the article over HERE. Spoiler alert- Jesus was probably, most definitely, not born on December 25. Find out […]

  52. un-christmas | Find Your Niche linked to this post on December 28, 2013

    […] Christmas-on-the-day is a farce anyway. Most scholars agree that historical Jesus wasn’t born anywhere near December 25. Mistletoe and the Yule log come straight from my ancestors, the pagan Norsemen. And the whole gift […]

  53. The fetus is a parasite, abortion is like plucking out a hair: how much does Jerry Coyne really know about biology? | Uncommon Descent linked to this post on December 29, 2013

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  54. Ann Coulter Thinks Kwanzaa Isn’t a Holiday, but It’s No Less Real Than Christmas | Radio Free linked to this post on December 31, 2013

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  55. Ann Coulter Thinks Kwanzaa Isn’t a Holiday, but It’s No Less Real Than Christmas « INTLFACES linked to this post on December 31, 2013

    […] around the existing Winter Solstice as a means to convert pagans to Christianity. December 25 might not even be Jesus's birthday. These dates were just useful to the early Christians. There's also that whole thing about […]

  56. Ann Coulter Thinks Kwanzaa Isn't a Holiday, but It's No Less Real Than Christmas - | Bharat Press linked to this post on December 31, 2013

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  57. Ann Coulter Thinks Kwanzaa Isn’t a Holiday, but It’s No Less Real Than Christmas | Obsession Systems | Arash Dibazar Pick Up Artist · Psychology · Dating · Hypnosis · Lifestyle · Entertainment | Arash Dibazar PUA Mind Control · Voodoo Hy linked to this post on December 31, 2013

    […] around the existing Winter Solstice as a means to convert pagans to Christianity. December 25 might not even be Jesus’s birthday. These dates were just useful to the early Christians. There’s also that whole thing about […]

  58. Ann Coulter Thinks Kwanzaa Isn't a Holiday, but It's No Less Real Than Christmas - Right Kind of Revolution linked to this post on January 1, 2014

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  59. Why is Christmas in the winter? Not the reason you thought, says New Testament scholar | Freethinking Jew linked to this post on January 4, 2014

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  60. Is January 6th The Real Christmas? - Cracked History linked to this post on January 6, 2014

    […] main source for this entry on Cracked History was the online article available here, but additional information on Christmas in general, particularly the holiday’s evolution and […]

  61. IN CHRISTMAS, whom we celebrate..., to Santa Calus, Harry Potter, or Jesus? - Page 6 - Religious Education Forum linked to this post on January 12, 2014

    […] but since I don't have it with me, I can't directly quote. Instead I'd offer the following; How December 25 Became Christmas – Biblical Archaeology Society This doesn't actually support the pagan festival theory, and like I said, I'm trying to be […]

  62. How Did December 25 Become Christmas? | Wascana Fellowship linked to this post on January 13, 2014

    […] As it turns out, I may have been wrong about a pagan connection with the choosing of the date of December 25. It would seem that the church settled on that date due to some interesting, and probably Jewish-inspired, mental gymnastics. The details can be found in an article written for the Biblical Archaeological Society titled “How December 25 Became Christmas.” […]

  63. Roman Emperor Constantine - Page 2 - Christian Chat Rooms & Forums linked to this post on January 21, 2014

    […] on birth dates for the Patriarchs, particularly Isaac. All of what I've described is written about in more detail here, complete with a bibliography consisting mostly of primary writings from the people I mentioned. At the end of the day, I think […]

  64. Who Needs Christ During Christmas? | Lost Little Lutheran linked to this post on February 8, 2014

    […] December 25th. Actually, nobody knows what his truth birthday is. If you want to do some digging, here’s a good website that might help you along. In short, theologians struggled to figure out the exact date, and […]

  65. Snow Day to the Future | We Write Together! linked to this post on March 18, 2014

    […] This has been accepted as fact. So, if Christ was actually born, when was he born? BiblicalArchaeology.org notes: “According to Clement of Alexandria, several different days had been proposed by various […]

  66. Ann Coulter Thinks Kwanzaa Isn’t a Holiday, but It’s No Less Real Than Christmas | Kinkementary Adult Personals-KinkementaryAdult Personals-Find a Sex Partner Free, Sex Personals Online, CasualEncounters, Adult Personals Online Sex Dating site linked to this post on March 25, 2014

    […] around the existing Winter Solstice as a means to convert pagans to Christianity. December 25 might not even be Jesus’s birthday. These dates were just useful to the early Christians. There’s also that whole thing about […]

  67. Who Needs Christ During Christmas? | Lost Little Lutheran linked to this post on May 5, 2014

    […] December 25th. Actually, nobody knows what his truth birthday is. If you want to do some digging, here’s a good website that might help you along. In short, theologians struggled to figure out the exact date, and […]

  68. Quora linked to this post on May 10, 2014

    What are the historical dates of the birth and death of Jesus Christ?

    WELL NUTS!!! MY MOBILE WONT LET ME EDIT AT THIS TIME SO TILL I CAN EDIT MG QUESTION I POST IT HERE…enjoy!!! ¢0: [EDIT] AS THE QUESTION GOT EXSPANDED ON, BUT HASN’T ALL THIS BEEN ASKED AND ANSWERED??? There us no clear date…I will give you speculat…

  69. De la Conception à la Résurrection - Pneumatis linked to this post on June 4, 2014

    […] McGowan, How December 25 became Christmas, […]

  70. Constantine and Christianity - Page 12 - Religious Education Forum linked to this post on June 15, 2014

    […] Can someone own a date? And I am not arguing that those dates were used to celebrate Pagan festivals. Quite the opposite actually, that those dates were chosen to celebrate Christian events in place of those Pagan festivals. I don't even know if Santa would be considered "pagan", but I would say that the Christmas tree could definitely be argued as a pagan tradition incorporated into the celebration of Christ's birth. How December 25 Became Christmas – Biblical Archaeology Society […]

  71. Idées reçues: Ces choses que l'on croit vrai. linked to this post on June 25, 2014

    […] FAUX, il n’existe aucune preuve de cette affirmation. La Bible ne fait jamais référence au fait que Jésus soit né un 25 décembre ; elle indiquerait plutôt une date proche de septembre, voire du printemps selon certaines interprétations. La date du 25 décembre est attribuée au pape Jules Ier, en l’an 350 il déclara le 25 décembre date officielle de la célébration. Cette date a pu être choisie pour correspondre au jour situé exactement 9 mois après l’Annonciation, au solstice d’hiver du calendrier romain, ou encore coïncider avec d’anciens festivals hivernaux. Source […]

  72. İsa Hangi Tarihte Doğdu? | Viktor Kopuşçu linked to this post on August 14, 2014

    […] McGowan, Andrew. “How December 25 Became Christmas.” 20/12/2013. http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/how-december-25-became-christ… […]

  73. Onko joulu sittenkin alunperin kristillinen juhla? - Areiopagi linked to this post on September 3, 2014

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  74. How Far Is Too Far Christian Dating | Christian Dating linked to this post on September 20, 2014

    […] How December 25 Became Christmas – Biblical Archaeology … – Easter, a much earlier development than Christmas, was simply the gradual Christian reinterpretation of Passover in terms of Jesus’ Passion…. […]

  75. Born Again Christian Dating Site Free | Dating Around Me linked to this post on September 23, 2014

    […] How December 25 Became Christmas – Biblical … – Easter, a much earlier development than Christmas, was simply the gradual Christian reinterpretation of Passover in terms of Jesus’ Passion…. […]

  76. Born Again Christian Dating Ireland | Dating Around Me linked to this post on September 25, 2014

    […] How December 25 Became Christmas – Biblical Archaeology … – Easter, a much earlier development than Christmas, was simply the gradual Christian reinterpretation of Passover in terms of Jesus’ Passion…. […]

  77. The Four Horsemen of The Holiday Marketing Apocalypse | Phaze 2 linked to this post on November 3, 2014

    […] DEFINITELY forget the pagan origins of Christmas and how the holiday should really be celebrated sometime around August*.  Christmas is here and you mothatruckers better be ready for Santa.  To make sure we are, cable […]

  78. Links of Interest (11.8.2014) | Dr. Matthew R. Perry, Pastor linked to this post on November 8, 2014

    […] How December 25 Became Christmas (Biblical Archaeology) […]

  79. Apie kaledu atsiradima | Dalinames Rasto Tiesa linked to this post on November 13, 2014

    […] Kiss http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/…/how-december-25…/ November 11 at […]

  80. Know Palawan's Christmas Traditions- Seacologia Travel | Palawan Resorts Hotels linked to this post on November 17, 2014

    […] pen down your secret Christmas wish list. This contains not just the things you desire to have this December 25, but also things you want to experience and places you want to visit before the year ends. You may […]

  81. – Where Was Jesus Born? linked to this post on November 17, 2014

    […] How December 25 Became Christmas […]

  82. Saying Happy Holidays is Acceptable | Scripturient linked to this post on November 26, 2014

    […] worth reading about how and when December 25 was chosen as the date for the birth; many scholars suggest it was wrongly chosen. But that’s outside […]

  83. Desember - Tren Berita linked to this post on November 30, 2014

    […] How december 25 became christmas – biblical archaeology […]

  84. Why Christmas needs to move to February | U. S. Senior Citizen Network linked to this post on December 2, 2014

    […] wasn’t until centuries later that a Dec. 25 holiday actually came about. Some suggest Christians moved the date to the end of December to hijack pagan festivities such as […]

  85. Spicy hagiography. | Megan knows arse-all about... linked to this post on December 5, 2014

    […] It’s almost the most Christmassy thing I can think of, aside from Jesus’s birthday, which was quite likely in the spring anyway. I thought I had read once that it was the earliest cookie associated with Christmas, but because […]

  86. On the original St. Nicholas - DOR Scribe linked to this post on December 10, 2014

    […] There are any number of theories, but the most reasonable seems to be that December 25 is exactly nine months after March 25, traditionally celebrated as the date of The Annunciation, the date of the “announcement by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus, the Son of God.”  See Annunciation – Wikipedia, and also Why is Christmas celebrated on December 25? — Ask HISTORY,Why December 25? | Christian History, and/or How December 25 Became Christmas – Biblical Archaeology Society. […]

  87. Does Christianity Borrow from Other Cultures? - The Salty Trail linked to this post on December 11, 2014

    […] Society, the notion that that it borrowed December 25th from a pagan holiday has some holes in it. Check out this link for more understanding on the dating of both Easter and Christmas – great […]

  88. Christmas on December 25th is not from Paganism! — Logos Apologia linked to this post on December 11, 2014

    […] Archaeology Review is a serious journal respected by real biblical scholars. The article How December 25 Became Christmas provides ample evidence debunking the pagan origins myth, showing how it actually got began, and […]

  89. The real 12 days of Christmas and why April 6 is a religiously significant date linked to this post on December 15, 2014

    […] are the 12 days of Christmas? Many of the insights that follow are drawn from the article “How December 25 Became Christmas," by Andrew […]

  90. The Date of Christmas has Nothing to Do with Pagan Holidays | agnus dei - english + romanian blog linked to this post on December 15, 2014

    […] How December 25 Became Christmas […]

  91. The Feast of Tabernacles, Hanukkah, and…Christmas? (Part 5: The Birthday of the Gods) | CONTEXT MATTERS linked to this post on December 15, 2014

    […] To read, CLICK HERE […]

  92. Three HUGE Christmas Myths - Derek Ouellette linked to this post on December 15, 2014

    […] article written in Biblical History Daily (from the Biblical Archaeological Society) by Andrew McGowan tells a different story. In surveying […]

  93. Is Christmas/Easter a Pagan Holiday? - Nyssa's Hobbit Hole linked to this post on December 17, 2014

    […] “How December 25 Became Christmas” by Andrew McGowan […]

  94. Jesus Christ, Born on Christmas Day, December 25th - Postcards of TruthPostcards of Truth linked to this post on December 17, 2014

    […] How December 25 Became Christmas. Bible History Daily – Biblical Archaeology Society. http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/how-december-25-became-christ…  Accessed 17 December […]

  95. มารู้จักเทศกาล Christmas กันเถอะ! | 65Blogs linked to this post on December 18, 2014

    […] BIBLICALAR CHRISTMASPEDIA CHRISTMASTIME Categories Entertainment Tagged Christmasjingle bellsmerry christmasซานตาครอสดอกคริสต์มาสต้นคริสต์มาสประวัติสีประจำวันคริสต์มาสเพลงวันคริสต์มาสแซนตาครอสแซนต้า​ […]

  96. 3 Reasons I Think Christians Shouldn’t Freak Out When People Say “Happy Holidays” | TitusLive linked to this post on December 19, 2014

    […] No one can be certain why we started celebrating the birth of Christ on December 25th, but we can be relatively sure it wasn’t because He was actually born that day. The early church argued a lot about when to celebrate. […]

  97. Sunday Go To Meeting Bun! « L.A. Marzulli's Blog linked to this post on December 21, 2014

    […] Archaeology Review is a serious journal respected by real biblical scholars. The article How December 25 Became Christmas provides ample evidence debunking the pagan origins myth, showing how it actually began, and even […]

  98. Christmas Traditions Based On Other Religions linked to this post on December 21, 2014

    […] the date of the birth of Christ is unknown, but suspected to be at some time during the spring or even late summer. There are some documents […]

  99. What is Christmas? | The History of the Future linked to this post on December 22, 2014

    […] is no Biblical evidence to support the date.  Bible History tells us, “Celebrations of Jesus’ Nativity are not mentioned in the Gospels or Acts; the date is not […]

  100. Jesus’ Birthday, the Sun, and Merry Christmas | Daniel N. Gullotta linked to this post on December 23, 2014

    […] “How December 25 Became Christmas” by Dr. Andrew McGowan (Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University) […]

  101. Wall Street National | Where Christmas really came from - Wall Street National linked to this post on December 23, 2014

    […] centuries. In fact, the major early writers of Christianity fail to mention the holiday at all, and one of them — Origen of Alexandria — actually made fun of birth celebrations, regarding such […]

  102. 'Would Anyone Mourn' Christmas 'If We Did Without It?' Asks Salon.com Writer - Alabama Citizens for Media Accountability linked to this post on December 23, 2014

    […] to biblical scholars, among them renowned biblical scholar Andrew McGowan, the real reason we celebrate Jesus’s birthday on December 25th predates the decree by Pope […]

  103. 10 True Things You Never Knew About The Life Of Jesus | Iran linked to this post on December 24, 2014

    […] when was Jesus really born? Around 200 AD, Clement of Alexandria affixed a birthday of May 20. That date coincides with the clues from the Bible, where shepherds are tending to their flocks, […]

  104. 5 Ways to Celebrate Jesus' Birth This Christmas linked to this post on December 24, 2014

    […] historical and even biblical evidence is relatively spare regarding the actual day of Jesus birth. Nonetheless, the day we set aside to […]

  105. Pagan Age : Inquisition linked to this post on December 24, 2014

    […] ! » et pour cause, ces théories se renforcent les unes les autres. De nombreux chrétiens vont ainsi pointer ce dont je parlais dans Donne-nous notre païen quotidien : le calcul de la date […]

  106. Why is Christmas on Dec. 25? (It wasn’t always.) - The Washington Post linked to this post on December 24, 2014

    […] an account titled “How December 25 Became Christmas” on the Biblical Archaeology Society’s Web site takes some issue with this […]

  107. Strauss: Why is Christmas on Dec. 25? (It wasn’t always.) | U. S. Senior Citizen Network linked to this post on December 24, 2014

    […] an account titled “How December 25 Became Christmas” on the Biblical Archaeology Society’s Web site takes some issue with this […]

  108. Christmas Isn't Very Christian - But It Doesn't Matter - mr-stingy linked to this post on December 24, 2014

    […] Bible History Daily explains it best: […]

  109. What Makes 25 so Special? | Matthew Sarookanian linked to this post on December 24, 2014

    […] McGowan, A. (2014, December 8). How December 25 Became Christmas. Retrieved December 25, 2014, from http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/how-december-25-became-christ… […]

  110. Merry Christmasa « The City of Destiny linked to this post on December 24, 2014

    […] indication that Jesus’ birth was not marked with similar festivities at that place and time.1 As far as we can tell, Christmas was not celebrated at all at this […]

  111. The Christmas Image | Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc linked to this post on December 25, 2014

    […] having little or nothing to do with the incarnation of The Savior. The Biblical Archeology Society “How December 25 Became Christmas” on their Bible History Daily. They do a balanced job on the question and note that the information […]

  112. CHRISTMAS IS WITHOUT CHRIST! | linked to this post on December 25, 2014

    […] decided to make some findings about this Christmas and what I saw was […]

  113. Christmas Reads | Thoughts linked to this post on December 25, 2014

    […] How December 25 Became Christmas “(W)e have Christians in two parts of the world calculating Jesus’ birth on the basis that his death and conception took place on the same day (March 25 or April 6) and coming up with two close but different results (December 25 and January 6)… Connecting Jesus’ conception and death in this way will certainly seem odd to modern readers, but it reflects ancient and medieval understandings of the whole of salvation being bound up together.” […]

  114. Theologuy · Why is Christmas on December 25th? linked to this post on December 25, 2014

    […] appeared in Bible Review, December 2002. It is available on the Biblical Archaeology web site as part of the Bible History Daily series. It is an interesting article and worth reading by anyone who is curious as to why this particular […]

  115. An Atheist Christmas Special | Chapin City Blues linked to this post on December 25, 2014

    […] folks, but your lord and savior wasn’t born on Christmas day. The Bible makes no notation on his birth date (or year, for that matter). And considering that the good book is riddle with historical and scientific inaccuracies, it […]

  116. christmas and christianity - RTH linked to this post on December 25, 2014

    […] How december 25 became christmas – biblical archaeology Read andrew mcgowan’s article “how december 25 became christmas” as it originally appeared in bible review, december 2002. the article was first republished in. […]

  117. Now that Christmas is over... - Page 6 - Christian Chat Rooms & Forums linked to this post on December 26, 2014

    […] read 'How December 25 Became Christmas' by Dr. Andrew McGowan published by Biblical Archaeology: How December 25 Became Christmas – Biblical Archaeology Society As Dr. McGowan explains, the celebration of the birth of Christ derives from the early Christian […]

  118. why is christmas celebrated - RTH linked to this post on December 27, 2014

    […] How december 25 became christmas – biblical archaeology Read andrew mcgowan’s article “how december 25 became christmas” as it originally appeared in bible review, december 2002. the article was first republished in. […]

  119. connect the DOTS, do the MATH and smell the COFFEE » Merry Christmas! linked to this post on December 27, 2014

    […] NOT saying the above is TRUE, just wondering where Christmas comes from. More on this topic in this link: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testamenat/how-december-25-became-chris… […]

  120. On “putting Christ back in Christmas” | social networking ate my blog linked to this post on December 27, 2014

    […] everybody except the birthday boy gets the presents?  But Christmas as a religious celebration has a rather checkered past and some dubious origins, not to mention the fact that nowhere in the Bi… (Jesus did however tell his disciples to commemorate his death by celebrating the Lord’s […]

  121. Epiphanies and Happy Holidays! | Stitch 'n Travel linked to this post on December 31, 2014

    […] do hope you have had a blessed Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kawanza, New Year’s and whatever holiday you celebrate this time of […]

  122. Debunking The Christmas Myths | Systematic Theology and Apologetics linked to this post on January 1, 2015

    […] Archaeology – How December 25th became Christmas Answering Islam – Christmas: Pagan Festival or Christian Celebration? by Dr Anthony McRoy Mere […]

  123. You Can Celebrate Christmas and Still Be a Christian | Never Let the Stones Cry Out linked to this post on January 2, 2015

    […] In the Jewish calendar, this is the 14th of Nisan (the month, not the car). Tertullian, in Adversus Iudaeos, translates that date to March 25th on the Roman calendar. Hippolytus, around the same time, does […]

  124. Another Amusing Bible Lesson from Newsweek | linked to this post on January 3, 2015

    […] theory that this time of year was chosen because it coincided with a major pagan festival is very doubtful.  No early documents indicate this and the tale appears to have first arisen in the twelfth […]

  125. Newsweek Attacks The Bible | Systematic Theology and Apologetics linked to this post on January 4, 2015

    […] theory that this time of year was chosen because it coincided with a major pagan festival is very doubtful.  No early documents indicate this and the tale appears to have first arisen in the twelfth […]

  126. CHRISTMAS DIALOGUE | kwamekrobo linked to this post on January 5, 2015

    […] McGowan, A.(2014)ed. How December 25 Became Christmas.(2014, December 24). Retrieved from www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/how-december-25-became-christmas/ […]

  127. Jesus Within The Pantheon: How Does Jesus’ Birth Story Compare with Other Popular Deities of the Time | Under the Shadow of the Red Rock linked to this post on February 4, 2015

    […] date his birth as December 25, this was later determined in a mid-fourth-century almanac of Roman births and deaths. Since the Roman registration was an early census, it can be assumed that the two are […]

  128. Co-Opted Pagan Holidays | Schaabling Shire Shoppe linked to this post on February 6, 2015

    […] Gowan, Andrew (2002). “How December 25 Became Christmas.” Bible Review. Retrieved from Bible History Daily. Retrieved from <http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/how-december-25-became-christ…&gt; […]

  129. Lesbisch Chat Dating Jesus Birth Story For Children | SEX Talk Live no business linked to this post on February 11, 2015

    […] How December 25 Became Christmas – Biblical … – A blanket of snow covers the little town of Bethlehem, in Pieter Bruegel’s oil painting from 1566. Although Jesus’ birth is celebrated every year on December 25 …… […]

  130. Lesbisch Chat Dating Jesus Birthplace Images | SEX Talk Live no business linked to this post on February 12, 2015

    […] How December 25 Became Christmas – Biblical … – Read Andrew McGowan’s article “How December 25 Became Christmas” as it originally appeared in Bible Review, December 2002. The article was first republished in …… […]

  131. Daily Tidbits 3/25 – Annunciation - Little Guy in the Eye linked to this post on March 6, 2015

    […] “Now then, March 25 was enshrined in the early Christian tradition, and from this date it is easy to discern the date of Christ’s birth. March 25 (Christ conceived by the Holy Ghost) plus nine months brings us to December 25 (the birth of Christ at Bethlehem).”  {How December 25 Became Christmas} […]

  132. Quora linked to this post on March 31, 2015

    Why do Christians worship on Sunday, when in the Ten Commandments it clearly says to remember the Sabbath day and to keep it holy?

    How was that insulting? I’ve read several books and articles about this. It’s a perfectly viable theory. Discussions questioning virgin births or Jesus’ marriage status or the melding of Roman religion and Judaism to form Christianity are perfectly…

  133. Quora linked to this post on May 5, 2015

    Why is the birth story of Jesus so similar to the story of Danae in the Greek mythology before Christ?

    Well, Dia de Muertos was moved to Oct 31 to coincide with All Saints day; before the Spanish colonization, it was celebrated some time in early Summer. But that’s beside the point, because…. Contrary to popular belief, the Catholic church wasn’t ve…

  134. Why are some many Christians proud to eat meat? - Page 2 - VeggieBoards linked to this post on June 22, 2015

    […] If conception occured March 25, birth would happen 9 months later. December 25. Original article here. Dave in MPLS / DISCLAIMER: I am not an actual rooster. "It is better to light a […]

  135. 10 Misconceptions About Christmas That Get Repeated Every Year | ViralPin`s — most interesting post on internet linked to this post on July 14, 2015

    […] Early Christian writers in Rome made their stance on celebrating birthdays quite clear—it was a disgusting, despicable, pagan thing to do. It was considered much more important to celebrate a person’s death rather than their birth. […]


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