The Bible offers few clues: Celebrations of Jesus’ Nativity are not mentioned in the Gospels or Acts; the date is not given, not even the time of year.The biblical reference to shepherds tending their flocks at night when they hear the news of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:8) might suggest the spring lambing season; in the cold month of December, on the other hand, sheep might well have been corralled. 165–264) goes so far as to mock Roman celebrations of birth anniversaries, dismissing them as “pagan” practices—a strong indication that Jesus’ birth was not marked with similar festivities at that place and time.1 As far as we can tell, Christmas was not celebrated at all at this point.

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According to John, Jesus is crucified just as the Passover lambs are being sacrificed.

This would have occurred on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Nisan, just before the Jewish holiday began at sundown (considered the beginning of the 15th day because in the Hebrew calendar, days begin at sundown).

In Matthew, Mark and Luke, however, the Last Supper is held after sundown, on the beginning of the 15th.

Jesus is crucified the next morning—still, the 15th.a Easter, a much earlier development than Christmas, was simply the gradual Christian reinterpretation of Passover in terms of Jesus’ Passion.

A blanket of snow covers the little town of Bethlehem, in Pieter Bruegel’s oil painting from 1566.

Although Jesus’ birth is celebrated every year on December 25, Luke and the other gospel writers offer no hint about the specific time of year he was born.

On December 25, Christians around the world will gather to celebrate Jesus’ birth.

Joyful carols, special liturgies, brightly wrapped gifts, festive foods—these all characterize the feast today, at least in the northern hemisphere. How did December 25 come to be associated with Jesus’ birthday?

Its observance could even be implied in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 5:7–8: “Our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed.