Why Is Jesus’ Birthday Celebrated on Dec. 25?

Post Author: Bill Pratt

The usual story about why Jesus’ birthday is celebrated on Dec. 25 is that Christians were trying to convert a Roman pagan festival into a Christian festival.  But it seems this theory may not be true.

Andrew McGowan, professor of early Christian history, has written a fascinating article which links the death and conception of Jesus to his birthday.  It seems that ancient Christians tended to believe that the death of Jesus occurred on the same day as his conception in Mary’s womb, March 25.  So, to arrive at his birthdate, they added nine months to March 25, which yields Dec. 25.

If you are interested in early Christian history and the roots of Jesus’ birthdate on Dec. 25, you won’t want to miss reading this article.

  • Joe

    Its been known though for several years that typical gestation period for a human is 40 weeks not the convenient 39 that would equal 9 months. Likewise without semi-modern technology they’d never know a female was pregnant until she missed a period and I highly doubt that they’d understand the details of the fertilization cycle apart from the menstrual cycle to come to such a convenient date. So after all that, I’d just say that this argument seems both “too” convenient and suspicious at best.

  • Pingback: Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? Part 1 | Tough Questions Answered()

  • emplois Cameroun

    25 December is the birthdate of the Sungod Horus! then Romes has taken all this stuff into christian churches! Jesus cannot be born in december, according to the scriptures, there are many reasons to think that he’s born a 11th september!

  • Pingback: Réseau social camerounais()

  • Darrell


    Father Christopher, my Priest at Holy Cross, actually taught this in one of our classes this year. The Feast of the Annuciation is celebrated on March 25th. His birth is celebrated nine months later, on Dec. 25th. He explained that the Church set this up not because they literally thought those were the exact dates that these events occured. It was done more for the purpose of sanctifying time. . . making the Liturgical year a celebration of Christ’s life.

    Interesting , huh?