Was Jesus born on December 25th or, for that matter, in December at all? Well, the Bible does not specify a date or month and, although it’s not impossible, it seems very unlikely he was born on the 25th. A couple practical reasons for there being some problems with December (as a whole) is that it would be unusual for shepherds to be “keeping watch over their flock by night” at this cold time of year when fields were unproductive. The normal practice was to keep the flocks in the fields from Spring to Autumn. Also, winter would likely be an especially difficult time for pregnant Mary to travel the long distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem (close to 80 miles).
A more probable time would be late September, the time of the annual Feast of Tabernacles, when such travel was commonly accepted. Therefore, it is commonly believed amongst scholarship that Jesus’ birth was around the last of September. (Oh yeah, and Jesus was probably born closer to the year 6 B.C., not 0 A.D. But that’s a whole other point.) However, if Mary gave birth to Christ in September, one interesting thought is that the conception of Christ may very well have taken place in late December of the previous year. Regardless of the exact birth, December 25th is as good of a date as any to celebrate the incarnation of “the Word [becoming] flesh and [dwelling] among us” (John 1:14).
When did it all start? There are many good explanations, but one of the main reason for celebrating Christ’s birth on December 25th was to steal the limelight from the winter solstice and its link to pagan feasts celebrating the Roman sun god and the Persian god Mithras. This transition took place in the fourth century, when Christianity became the Roman Empire’s favored religion under Emperor Constantine. At first, the birth of Christ was celebrated on January 6th; later it was switched to December 25th. For more on this read, Why December 25?
Other Christmas Misconceptions:
Christmas Misconception #1 Jesus was born in a Stable
Christmas Misconception #2 The Innkeeper Turned Mary & Joseph Away
Christmas Misconception #3 No Crying He Makes
Christmas Misconception #4 Mary, Urgently Needing to Deliver Her Baby, Rides into Bethlehem on a Donkey
Christmas Misconception #5 Three Kings, Riding on Donkeys, Come to See the Baby Jesus
Christmas Misconception #6 Jesus was Born on December 25th