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Was Jesus really born in December?

Updated on December 14, 2011

When was Jesus really born?

When Was Jesus Born?

“THE exact date of Christ’s birth is not known,” says the Encyclopedia of Early Christianity. Still, millions of professed Christians around the globe celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25. This date, however, appears nowhere in the Bible. Was Jesus really born in December?
Although the Bible does not give a specific date for Jesus’ birth, it does provide evidence that he was not born in December. Also, from secular evidence we can learn why December 25 was adopted as the date for celebrating his birth.

Why Not a December Birth?
Jesus was born in the Judean city of Bethlehem. Luke’s Gospel reports: “There were also in that same country shepherds living out of doors and keeping watches in the night over their flocks.” (Luke 2:4-8) This was not unusual. “The flocks had to spend the greater part of the year in the open air,” says the book Daily Life in the Time of Jesus. But would the shepherds be outside with their flocks on a cold December night? The book says: “They passed the winter under cover; and from this alone it may be seen that the traditional date for Christmas, in the winter, is unlikely to be right, since the Gospel says that the shepherds were in the fields.”
This conclusion is corroborated by another detail in Luke’s Gospel account: “In those days a decree went forth from Caesar Augustus for all the inhabited earth to be registered; (this first registration took place when Quirinius was governor of Syria;) and all people went traveling to be registered, each one to his own city.”—Luke 2:1-3.

Augustus probably ordered this registration as a census in order to gather information for use in connection with taxation and military conscription. To comply with the order, Mary, despite being heavy with child, accompanied her husband, Joseph, on the journey of some 90 miles [150 km] from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Now think about it. Does it seem likely that Augustus—a ruler who rarely interfered with local government—would require a people who were already inclined to revolt to make such a long trip in winter?

Significantly, most historians and Bible scholars reject December 25 as Jesus’ date of birth. No doubt you will find such information in an encyclopedia to which you have access. Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Encyclopedia states: “There is general agreement that Jesus was not born on December 25.”

With the help of this information and some other details in the Bible he was either born the first week in October OR April. Other facts from the Bible points at October. But nowhere does it say that we shall celebrate his birth!!

He was born

Lets look carefully into the Bibles story!

First of all - these so called wise men came all the way from Eastern. (It does not say that they were three either) How long do you think they had to travel all these miles to Jerusalem? Months probably, so they did NOT arrive when the child was new born.

Secondly - the star did NOT shine over Jesus. It lead the wise men to Jerusalem, where the evel King Herod was. The star was hence leading these wise men to a man who wanted Jesus killed as we can see in Herods reaction to what to do with Jesus.

Thirdly - the star moved on the heaven so they could find Jesus with his mother Mary in a HOUSE! They were not in a stable any more. The boy was probably a couple of years already since Herod wanted that age killed when he heard about finding Jesus.

Fourthly - they were warned in a dream (probably from God himself) not to return to Herod and tell him where the child was. They obeyed and took another road on the way back to east.

The Bible book Matthew continues to tell us:

When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men,* he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men.*

Now use your common sence and think! Who put the star in the sky so Herod would find Jesus na kill him? Not God for sure.

Compare this Bible story with the Christmas celebrations we see today and you can see that they are a lie, a bluff. Nothing of all that is in the good book.

Very very often when you study the Bible thoroughly, you find that the truth is exchanged for traditions that have pagan roots and origins. This is only one episode.

What really happened when Jesus was born

The story according to Matthews chapter 2 according to the New revised standard Bible:

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men* from the East came to Jerusalem, 2asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising,* and have come to pay him homage.’ 3When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah* was to be born. 5They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
6 “And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd* my people Israel.” ’ 7 Then Herod secretly called for the wise men* and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 8Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.’ 9When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising,* until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw that the star had stopped,* they were overwhelmed with joy. 11On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

Christmas is pagan

Christian Rätschexplains:

The day on which many commemorate the birth of Christ has its origins in pagan rituals that center on tree worship, agriculture, magic, and social exchange. But Christmas is no ordinary folk observance. It is an evolving feast that over the centuries has absorbed elements from cultures all over the world--practices that give plants and plant spirits pride of place. In fact, the symbolic use of plants at Christmas effectively transforms the modern-day living room into a place of shamanic ritual.

Christian Rätsch and Claudia Müller-Ebeling show how the ancient meaning of the botanical elements of Christmas provides a unique view of the religion that existed in Europe before the introduction of Christianity. The fir tree was originally revered as the sacred World Tree in northern Europe. When the church was unable to drive the tree cult out of people’s consciousness, it incorporated the fir tree by dedicating it to the Christ child. Father Christmas in his red-and-white suit, who flies through the sky in a sleigh drawn by reindeer, has his mythological roots in the shamanic reindeer-herding tribes of arctic Europe and Siberia. These northern shamans used the hallucinogenic fly agaric mushroom, which is red and white, to make their soul flights to the other world. Apples, which figure heavily in Christmas baking, are symbols of the sun god Apollo, so they find a natural place at winter solstice celebrations of the return of the sun. In fact, the authors contend that the emphasis of Christmas on green plants and the promise of the return of life in the dead of winter is just an adaptation of the pagan winter solstice celebration.

Greg Tobin explains:

How did Sunday become the “Sabbath Day?” Why did St. Valentine become the patron saint of lovebirds? Most people happily participate in Mardi Gras, Halloween, and St. Patrick’s Day with very little knowledge of the origins and meanings of those celebrations. Greg Tobin unearths the religious roots of the seemingly secular, offering historical trivia and the sometimes bizarre origins of the days throughout the year that bring people together. Jesus was not born on Christmas Day.

Did you know this?

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    • irenemaria profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Sweden

      Nowhere in the Bibel does it mention that Cristians should celebrate Jeus´birth. 25th is chosen exactly how you say - to please those pagan traditions. We should stay away from anything pagan!

      Some may appear harmless. But GOD observed firsthand the pagan religious practices from which these originated. Should not his view be what matters to us?

      Illustration: Suppose a crowd come to a gentleman’s home saying they are there to celebrate his birthday. He does not favor the celebration of birthdays. He does not like to see people overeat or get drunk or engage in loose conduct. But some of them do all those things, and they bring presents for everyone there except him! On top of all that, they pick the birthday of one of the man’s enemies as the date for the celebration. How would the man feel? Would you want to be a party to it? This is exactly what is being done by Christmas celebrations.

    • Wbisbill profile image


      7 years ago from Tennessee USA

      Christmas and the celebration of Christ's birth is what we make of it.

      Every day of our year can be traced to some pagan heritage, but that does not mean The Christian is pagan because he/she calls Sunday, "Sunday", or celebrates Christmas on December 25th, or gives his wife flowers on Valentine's day, or worships through the week on a different that traditional day. We worship not a day, but a Person (Jesus Christ)

      I personally respect not the day, but the Savior of the day. 12/25 was probably set aside as an early effort to best win a pagan people with a pagan celebration to the knowledge and worship of Jesus.

      However, whatever, Christmas for the Christian is not pagan, not when we put Christ front and center.

      I am only one opinion, and I have friends who do not celebrate as I do, but I see no reason for their "pagan" (just kidding) views to rule the way I worship.

      Merry Christmas & Maranatha

      Pastor Walt of Wbisbill.

      Thumbs up on a good hub!

    • irenemaria profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Sweden

      I have never gone to church either. But I have studied the Bible for decades now. and what is tought in churches are too often not from the Bible. They mix tradition and try to form a religion according to what they like.

    • mulberry1 profile image

      Christine Mulberry 

      7 years ago

      Nice look at some of the facts. I'm not a bible scholar (my family never even went to church) but I had heard some of this. That Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem for a census and that Jesus likely was not born on Dec. 25th. Thanks for the education.

    • onceuponatime66 profile image

      Jackie Paulson 

      7 years ago from USA IL

      This is all well said in the hub article and in the comments. I appreciate this as I believe in what you have to write. Jesus is the reason for the season. I believe he was 33.5 When he died.

    • irenemaria profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Sweden

      Thank you eovery for your comment!

      Yes Jesus was the fullfillment of the slaughter of the lamp when he died on the passover year 33.

      I have some problems with the chronology as you tell it. There is two pivotal dates that can be determind. One is the baptism of Christ. One such date, harmonizing with both Biblical and secular history, is the year 29 C.E., the early months of which were in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar, who was named emperor by the Roman Senate on September 15, 14 C.E. (Gregorian calendar). It was in the year 29 C.E. that John the Baptizer began his preaching and also when, perhaps about six months later, he baptized Jesus.—Lu 3:1-3, 21, 23; 1:36.

      For Jesus’ ministry to have lasted three and a half years, ending with his death at Passover time, would require that that period include four Passovers in all. Evidence for these four Passovers is found at John 2:13; 5:1; 6:4; and 13:1.

      The Bible say that he was baptized when he was 30 years old. Then celebrated four passovers, on the fourth he was killed.

      He must have been 33 ½ years old when he died. That shows that his birth was more likely in the beginning of October.

    • eovery profile image


      7 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      Two thoughts.

      Jesus was the lamb, and lambs are born in the spring.

      Also, Joseph and Mary had to return to Bethlehem for taxation and census. This is usually done at passover time, which we know is in the spring. So Jesus may have been born, died, and resurrected on or around the passover.

      Keep on hubbing!


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