There are two common questions that come up this time of year among Bible-believing Christians. Was Jesus Christ born on the 25th of December? If not, should we participate in Christmas, especially in light of its pagan and Catholic roots? The Bible is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice (2 Tim. 3:16), so that is where we will look for the answers. We are to prove all things by the word of God (1 Thess. 5:21), holding fast to the truth and rejecting the traditions of men (Col. 2:8).


Was Christ Born on December 25th?


The word of God does not reveal the date of Christ’s birth, but it does give us clues as to the time of year that He was born, and it was not in December. The following points are gleaned from the first two chapters of Luke.

  • It is unlikely that the Roman Emperor would have tried to enforce a taxing on the people at the most inconvenient and inclement season of the year. It would have been asking for an uproar and revolt among the people who were already hostile toward the Roman authorities.
  • God was in control of the timing and place of Christ’s birth (to fulfill prophecy). It is unlikely that He would have caused Mary, being “great with child,” to take a 70-mile journey through a hill district averaging 3,000 feet above sea level in the dead of winter.
  • Shepherds and their flocks would not have been abiding in the open fields at night in December. There would have been no pasturage for the flocks during that time of year. The custom was to withdraw the flocks and house them for winter.
  • Jesus was conceived in the virgin’s womb the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy (Lk. 1:36). If we can know about the time that Elizabeth conceived John, we can add sixth months and have a good idea of when Jesus was born. Elizabeth conceived soon after her husband, Zacharias, arrived home from fulfilling his course in the temple (Lk. 1:5).
  • King David divided the priests into 24 courses to work in the temple. The course of Abia was the 8th course (1 Chron. 24:10). Each course began on the sabbath and lasted a week. The priests fulfilled two courses a year plus they all worked during the three great feasts (Deut. 16:16). Israel had a lunar calendar, and their sacred year began with the month of Passover (Nisan, our April). The two ministrations of the course of Abia would have been Sivan (June) 12-18 and Chisleu (December) 6-12. Because we don’t know which ministration Gabriel appeared to Zacharias, we can’t be sure when Elizabeth conceived John, but based on either one Christ wouldn’t have been born in December.
  • If Gabriel appeared to Zacharias in June, he would have made it home around the 21st or 22nd (he would not have traveled on the sabbath, and it would’ve taken a day or two to get home) and it is reasonable to assume Elizabeth conceived John on the 23rd or 24th. That would put the birth of John around the end of March. Adding in the 6 months would put the conception of Jesus at the end of December and His birth at the end of September. It would be fitting for the Word to be made flesh on the Feast of Tabernacles (Zech. 14:16; Lk. 2:10).
  • Christ began His public ministry at the age of thirty (Lk. 3:23) and He died after 3 ½ years. Since He died during Passover in April, He would have been born 33 ½ years earlier in September.

We don’t know the exact date that Christ was born but we know that He was. Likewise, we don’t know the exact date He is coming again, but we know that He is! God has good reasons for not revealing the date for either advent.

  • The birth of Christ was natural, but His conception was supernatural (Lk. 1:26-38). Therefore, this is a good time of the year to celebrate the incarnation of Christ. By the way, how could a “fetus” leap for JOY in its mother’s womb (Lk. 1:44)? The Bible teaches that life begins at CONCEPTION.
  • Had Christ not been born of a virgin, He could not be our Saviour because He would have been a sinner like us (Rom. 5:12). Therefore, we should celebrate His birth.
  • Christ was made flesh to reveal the Father (Jn. 1:14, 18), confirm the promises made to Israel (Rom. 15:8), destroy the Devil (Heb. 2:14, and accomplish salvation (1 Tim. 1:15).
  • Let’s not leave baby Jesus in the manger (Rom. 1:16). He is the everlasting God (Isa. 9:6; Mic. 5:2). He accomplished what the Father sent Him to accomplish. He died on the cross, rose again, ascended, and He is coming again.

Should We Participate in Christmas?


There are three main views among professing Christians concerning Christmas.

  1. It is a holy day that should be faithfully observed.
  2. It is a pagan festival that should be totally rejected.
  3. It is a cultural tradition that we may participate in if we do so in a way that does not dishonor God and His word.

God gave Israel various holy days in the law (Christmas wasn’t one of them) but He did not give the Body of Christ holy days to observe under grace (Rom. 6:14; Col. 2:16). It is a historical fact that Christmas has its roots in paganism and Catholicism (Christ – MASS). The Roman Catholic Church has mixed in many pagan ideas and practices into its religion. We certainly should reject the teaching of the Catholic Church about Christmas.

What about all the professing Christians that are not Catholic but esteem days like Christmas and Easter above other days? There is a difference between those who are trusting religious observances to be right with God (Gal. 4:8-11) and those who are weak in the faith and therefore do not fully understand and appreciate their liberty in Christ (Rom. 14:1-12). If you ate meat offered to idols believing you were committing idolatry it would be a sin. However, if you ate it just for food it would not be a sin (see 1 Cor. 8). Likewise, to observe Christmas as a religious day is unscriptural and wrong. However, if we participate in Christmas because it provides an opportunity to talk to people about Christ and to enjoy family time, there is certainly nothing wrong with that. If you worship your Christmas tree as an idol, that is wrong. If you have a tree because you like the way it smells and looks, there is nothing wrong with that. If you think that we should totally boycott Christmas because of its pagan roots, then, to be consistent, you also need to stop using the names of the days of the week and months of the year because they also have pagan roots. The majority of people who celebrate Christmas today do not know about its roots.

Among Bible-believing Christians who agree that Christmas is not a holy day we must observe, we should respect one another’s personal liberty to participate in it or not. There are some negatives about the cultural tradition of Christmas such as the materialism of the season. However, there are also positives about it. What settles the issue for me as to whether or not to participate in Christmas is the opportunity it provides to spread the gospel of Christ (1 Cor. 9:19-23; Phil. 1:18). If the world is going to stop and acknowledge that Jesus was born, we should take advantage of the opportunity to share the truth concerning who He is and why He came!