Site Search
Store Search
Association of the Miraculous Medal
Is December 25 really the date of Christ's Birthday?

20. Is December 25 really the date of Christ's birthday?

Most Bible scholars and historians say that it is very unlikely that Christ was born on December 25. We do not know the exact date of Christ's birth, since it is not given in the Gospels. There have been many theories as to when and why we Christians started observing December 25. St. John Chrysostom tried to figure it from the Day of Atonement and John the Baptist's birthday, but scholars today say his theory is untenable. Most scholars hold instead the theory that December 25 was chosen because it is the date of the winter solstice in the Julian Calendar, the date when the sun begins its return to northern skies.

Pagans therefore celebrated this day in honor of their "sun god," and on December 25, 274, Emperor Aurelian proclaimed the sun-god principal patron of the Roman empire. As Christianity gradually conquered old pagan practices, December 25 was chosen as the day to observe Christ's birthday so that the old pagan festival might be replaced with a Christian celebration, the birthday of Christ, the "Sun of Justice" (a title given Him in the 3rd century). This theory is not certain, but it seems to be the best one available.