1. Religion & Spirituality
Mary Fairchild

Why Do We Celebrate Christmas on December 25?

By December 17, 2013

Follow me on:

The history of Christmas reveals quite a bit of controversy. For one, the date of Christ's actual birth is unknown. It is not recorded in the Bible.

History of Christmas on December 25

Not only did church leaders argue and speculate about the date, they also disagreed about the appropriateness of birthday celebrations within the Christian church. Much of the contention stems from the pagan customs associated with the origins of Christmas. Yet, today all Christian denominations and faith groups, aside from the Church of Armenia, celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25.

Find out why as we look into the history of Christmas:

Photo: Tom Grill / Getty Images

Follow Me: Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter
Comments
December 9, 2008 at 9:33 am
(1) Rita says:

HE CAME, GLORY TO GOD!
He fullfiled ALL the prophecies concerne His birth, life and ressurection.
His parents were jewish and celebrated the Festival of Lights in December when they traveled to Bethelehen thus making sence of a December birthday of Jesus.
HE SHINES!

November 30, 2011 at 2:20 pm
(2) k says:

You spelled “concern” wrong. As well as “sense” and “Bethlehem”. How do you spell ressurection right and then get “sense” wrong?

December 1, 2011 at 1:23 pm
(3) william says:

I like what you wrote

November 26, 2009 at 7:06 pm
(4) jlenniger says:

If memory serves me correctly, they went to the City of David as they were both descendants of King David and had to be censured for the census that I think King Herod had ordered. Also, questions the fact of shepherds being in the fields in December? Still He is God and can make a shepherd warm in winter and food for the sheep in the fields. But that Jesus’ parents were there for a Celebration of the Lights or Hanukkah is new to me. Raise another question, which of the 3 known calendars were they going by? Bless our LORD and Saviour, Jesus Christ…the debates will go on, and embarrassing are the fights (physically and verbally) to the rest of the world filled with non-believers.

December 1, 2009 at 10:56 am
(5) lewis says:

can you help me find chrismas suff

December 16, 2009 at 11:20 am
(6) Penny says:

Nothing in the Bible indicates that they were celebrating the Festival of lights!

Also, the author is INCORRECT in stating that ONLY the Armenian church celebrates on a different day. MOST of the Eastern Orthodox churches (Russia, Ukraine, etc.) celebrate Christmas in January. This is due to the difference of accepting either the Julian or Gregorian calendar.

Winter in Israel is NOT like elsewhere in the world. December is not that cold (snow, etc.) Think Georgia (same latitude).

Finally, having raised sheep myself and having seen unknown numbers born, I can tell you that lambing season is NOT in the spring but in the winter. “Christmas” lambs are very normal. In fact, this makes them the prime age for Passover (think Christ’s crucifixion)!

December 25, 2009 at 1:01 am
(7) Ashley says:

Jehovah’s Witnesses are Christian and do not celebrate Christmas at all.

January 1, 2010 at 10:05 am
(8) Sam says:

Jehova’s Witnesses are not Christians. They do not accept Christ as God and in fact they deny the tri-une nature of God. Accepting God as Father-Son-Holy Spirit has always (historically and spritually) been the hallmark of being a Christian. IF you want to follow some other pattern go ahead but it is NOT historical Christianity.

January 3, 2010 at 6:33 am
(9) john says:

Is christmas the christians festival of light ?

November 21, 2011 at 2:38 pm
(10) haley says:

no, it is not. it is christmas. we dont have a “festival of lights”, that’s a jewish holiday, i think it is another name for hannakuh, but perhaps im wrong about that.

June 11, 2010 at 3:06 pm
(11) Dan says:

Jesus birthday, for god heaven’s sake, was in late MARCH according to the bible! This excuse for “Jesus’s Birthday” is complete crap and lunacy!

July 28, 2010 at 11:43 am
(12) X says:

Jesus was born late March-early April (as Dan has said) Christmas is celebrated in December because it is a pagan holiday “rewritten” to match Christianity.

November 16, 2010 at 9:02 pm
(13) PJ says:

The days of the week are pagan also. Were you there on the day Jesus was born in so called March?

November 21, 2010 at 6:32 am
(14) mike says:

i,ve heard that it has it,s pagan origins including a decorated tree,but imo if we remember what christmas really means to commemerate the birth of jesus that,s what,s really important ,even though it,s traditionally celebrated December 25, that actual date of christs birth is unknown.imo it,s more important to understand that it,s more about gifts under a tree but to honor christ.

December 1, 2010 at 3:26 pm
(15) Mike says:

Some of the modern myths about pagan influence seam so widespread that people accept them without ever really knowing the truth. You might like what you find.

December 23, 2010 at 12:52 am
(16) Melissa says:

It started with Constantine during the Roman Empire. There was a Pagan cult that worshiped the Sun God of the Roman Empire. Related to this cult was Mithras, a God who was said to have been born from rocks. The cult was called Mithraism, a little known cult that was primarily worshiped by the elite of Rome (officers, rulers, and such). Mithras was said to have been born on the 25th of December and it was tradition to give gifts on that day. The reason it integrated with Christian mythology is because Constantine wanted to successfully integrate the two religions that were somewhat similar to strengthen his rule as Emperor. He united both the elite Pagan worshipers and the new cult of Christianity by mixing the traditions and rituals of both-members of the Pagan religion and Christianity made up important portions of the population in the army and he needed both the groups of have a strong empire. After defeating Maxentius at the battle of the Milvian Bridge, Constantine erased all traces of Maxentius when he defeated him and slurred his name calling him a Christian prosecutor, when in reality Maxentius and his reign had always left the Christians alone. Constantine simply wanted to strengthen his name. As everyone knows, the Roman Empire was the persecutor of Christians. Because of this propaganda, most people believe that Constantine was the first Emperor to embrace Christianity but the truth is he is just the first person to capitalize on it.

December 23, 2010 at 9:39 am
(17) John says:

Still why do we celebrate it in december.Some people said he was born in March or October.

December 25, 2010 at 2:20 am
(18) unknow says:

i hate christmas.my bad day is on 25 december.

November 21, 2011 at 2:34 pm
(19) Haley says:

Look, you can all fight about what the original reason for the celebration of Christmas on December 25th is, but it isn’t going to change the fact that it is celebrated on December 25th.

I am a Christian, and i celebrate Christmas like anyone else. Whether Jesus was born in march or december or any other month, He was still born. This is just when we celebrate it and it could be when His actual birth took place. Personally, i don’t see why it’s such a huge debate. My Lord and Savior is Jesus Christ and no matter what the origins of this holiday are, it is now set aside to celebrate His birth. =)

December 2, 2011 at 2:59 pm
(20) a says:

thanks for helping me do my work

December 15, 2011 at 4:58 pm
(21) Chrissy says:

I was always told that Christmas was celebrated near the time the wise men came to bring gifts to Baby Jesus… why he’d still be in a manager over 6 months later but it would make some sense… hence the star on the top of the tree and the gifts…. star = star of Bethlehem and gifts = gifts given to Jesus

December 21, 2011 at 1:09 pm
(22) what? says:

Jesus’ birthday was NOT in March. March is when Mary found out she was pregnant. The question of years vary from 6 BC to 2 BC. 9 months from March is December. Because no1 knew the exact date, it was agreed upon that December 25 (9mnths from March 25) would be deemed Christmas. This is said to have happened around 336 AD.

December 22, 2011 at 7:17 am
(23) Shairol Rafizan Mohd Radzi says:

Was he a God? Why God had to be born? What kind of God died?

December 23, 2011 at 12:38 am
(24) Kimberly says:

I don’t understand what the big deal is. Personally I celebrate my Lord and Savior on this day as His birthday. Regardless of if it is his actual birthday, I separate one day out of the year to celebrate His birth. Don’t get me wrong, I celebrate Him daily. I don’t do a lot of the traditional things that a lot of people do for Christmas. No Santa Claus at my house….we put a tree up. For us that represents the birth(growth of the tree), Death(cutting down of the tree), and resurrection(putting the tree back up in our house). We don’t do it because it is what everyone else does, my husband and I do it because we want to give Glory to God. It is only bad when you make something bad of it. If you have the right mind set behind it and give God glory in all you do, then there is nothing wrong with whatever traditions you have. God first….period!!!

December 24, 2011 at 9:58 pm
(25) dean says:

Mohd, your questions are very honest. Jesus was indeed God. He was born to show us, mankind, how we were to live and to show us how we could know Him, God, personally. It is the same concept as you getting down on your knees to play with your child. He had to die because the sins of the world required payment. He, totally innocent, died for our sins so that we could be forgiven. Justice requires that wrongs be paid for. Jesus paid for our wrongs. The account does not end with His death though. He rose from the dead three days later proving He is God. He wants to be your God, personally.

December 25, 2011 at 2:15 pm
(26) Jackie says:

Dean, dont you think it is un-fair that only a tiny % of humans got to know “how they were to live”. Non of the previous generations got this previlage! As for “dying for our sins”- you must understand that laws are made for humans and all other creations of God. There are no laws for God, that He CANNOT do something unless something is done!! The statement that Jesus “died for our sins” means that he new that he would have to be sacrificed. Then why was Jesus, as stated in the Bible, crying tears of blood and prying to God to protect him from the evil people who wanted to kill him? How can an evil deed be deamed as something very nice and sacred to the hole of Christiandom? When prophet Abraham wanted to sacrifice his beloved son as ordered by God, the son told his father to do what God has ordered. Abraham’s son didnot cry the tears of blood or begg his father to reconsider… and he was less than 15 years of age and NOT A GOD!!! Thank you and God bless.

December 25, 2011 at 8:27 pm
(27) Adrian says:

Shalom, Jackie! :)

February 9, 2012 at 2:47 am
(28) Danny says:

Its sad to say that Jesus said that we are not from this world and yet majority of the world says they follow Jesus yet they practice all the things from this world.

October 16, 2012 at 7:11 pm
(29) gio says:

@Jackie

You cannot compare a sinless being with one born out of sin. Abraham’s son was trusting in his father and remember that he didn’t tell him from the beginning of their journey that he was going to serve as the lamb for sacrificial purposes.

Christ in deed prayed but at the end of the prayer he asked that God’s will be done and not his. He was very human when he came to earth. He was tempted several times and overcame temptations.

As for celebrating Christmas, I think that it would be wrong to celebrate as the secular world does it. I don’t think it is sinful but is not Biblical since it was just one major event. Nowhere in the new testament during his life or after will you find that they say let’s celebrate Christ’s birthday, much less with gifts given to eachother and a tree.

The last supper is the only event that Jesus asked his disciples to do in remembrance of him to announce his death and resurrection. Think about it…after his birth was it really celebrated by any of the apostles or the early church?

November 29, 2012 at 6:33 am
(30) Isabella says:

hi my name is Isabella,,
Does anyone know why we celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December when that’s not Jesus’ birthday?

December 22, 2012 at 3:44 am
(31) Samuel okwir says:

What is the main corncen? Is it his coming to the world or his date of birth? Otherwise he remain the LORD!

December 28, 2012 at 2:25 pm
(32) maddi says:

nobody can say realy whats right or wrong its just the matter of fact you have got to go by not by your opinyons.

jesus was born march and nobody can denigh it because its in the bible and i worked itm out with my knolege that we shouldnt celebraite christmas because it is nothing to do with god or jesus and it is defending them if you do.

jesus was born on the 25th of march and we should NOT! celebraite christmas.

January 10, 2013 at 9:19 am
(33) Manoko says:

I dont care about what peolpe say about jesus or his birth, but one thing for sure is he is the king of heaven and earth who died and raise agian.I know that he is the messiah that Isaiah talked about that he will free us from our iniqueties.I love this jesus so much and i will always glorify his holy name.Becuase he was the first person who came on earth being reastiuos and ascended to heaven being the same way.

January 25, 2013 at 3:26 am
(34) olajide Bamikole says:

I am a Christian, and i celebrate Christmas like anyone else. Whether Jesus was born in march or december or any other month, He was still born. This is just when we celebrate it and it could be when His actual birth took place. Personally, i donít see why itís such a huge debate. My Lord and Savior is Jesus Christ and no matter what the origins of this holiday are, it is now set aside to celebrate His birth.

December 23, 2013 at 10:16 pm
(35) Seeker says:

Jesus was never the Creator, he was just a Messenger sent by the Creator, So DO NOT Worship Jesus but WORSHIP the LORD (GOD) of Jesus without associating any Partners with God.

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.