Christmas Day is marked on our Calenders on December 25th…and this has been the tradition for a very long time indeed. However, what may take you by surprise is the fact that no body knows for sure the actual birth-date of Jesus! As such, there is no mention of any specific date in the Bible. There are many theories surmised for supporting the celebration of this festival specifically on December 25th.
The first recorded celebration of Christmas dates back to 336 AD during the time of Emperor Constantine; who happened to be the first Christian Roman Emperor. A few years later, Pope Julius the First decreed that the birth-date of Jesus would be commemorated every year on December 25th.
An extremely ancient theory postulates that the date when Mary learnt that she would bear a very special child was March 25th- this date is called the Annunciation by Christians . Going by this, the date nine months hence happens to be December 25th, hence every year this particular date is hailed as the birth date of Jesus.
No one knows for sure on what day Christ was born. Dionysus Exiguus, a sixth century monk, who was the first to date all of history from December 25, the year of our Lord 1. Other traditions gave dates as early as mid-November or as late as March. How did Christmas come to be celebrated on December 25? Cultures around the Mediterranean and across Europe observed feasts on or around December 25, marking the winter solstice. The Jews had a festival of lights. Germans had a yule festival. Celtic legends connected the solstice with Balder, the Scandinavian sun god who was struck down by a mistletoe arrow.
Another legend speaks that December 25th may be selected because the Winter Solstice and the old pagan Roman midwinter celebrations known as ‘Saturnalia’ occurred in the month of December, around this very date- which gave it an auspicious aura.
The Winter Solstice is the Day with the shortest time gap between sun rise and sun set. It occurs every year either on December 22nd or 23rd. Most people and pagans in particular hailed this as a blessed occurrence as it meant the end of the cold winter and beginning of Spring. In Northern Europe and specifically Scandinavia, the Winter Solstice is called ‘Yule’ and this explains the origin of the custom of Yule Logs.
Similarly, the Jewish Festival of Lights (Hanukkah) begins on the 25th of Kislev, which coincides with the Christian Calender month of December . Jesus Christ was originally a Jew and hence this could tradition could very well be the reason why we celebrate December 25th as Christmas Day , every year around the world.
St Augustine is credited with bringing Christianity to the UK around the 6th century. Christmas Day began to be celebrate din this part of the globe annually on December 25th, after which the trend spread all over. The term Christmas originally signifies the ‘Mass of Christ’. At the Mass Service, Christians recall the supreme sacrifice made by Jesus for the sake of mankind. Whatever the reason, the holy aura of this date remains intact and binds the believers of the Christian faith together, as they joyously and reverently celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior – on this special day.