Let us begin with a bit of a dark picture. Nowhere in the Holy Scriptures are we told about a celebration commemorating the birth of Christ Jesus. Nothing in the Scriptures gives us any sure evidence about the date of this magnificent event. (The article you are reading was inspired by a larger article that goes into a lot of more detail about the same topic. To access it click here.)

The lack of Scriptural specificity about the facts surrounding the birth of the Judean King stands in sharp contrast to the details available about his death (each of the four Gospels provide the exact timing of Jesus’ death).

In the late second century, the Greek Church Father Origen mocked yearly celebrations of Roman birth anniversaries, discounting them as deeply pagan practices. This suggests that Christian communities did not yet celebrate Christmas during Origen’s lifetime (c.165-264). The first church figure to discuss the date of Jesus’ birth was Clement (c. 200), an Egyptian preacher from Alexandria.  However, December 25 was not even mentioned. By the middle of the fourth century, however, we find that Western churches were already celebrating the Birth of Christ on December 25, while the Eastern Churches did so on Jan. 7th.

How did the early Christians arrive at this dating?

Surprisingly, the early church followed a very Jewish idea – that the beginning and the end of important redemptive events often happen on the same date (Babylonian Talmud, Rosh Hashana 10b-11a). In the beginning of the third century, Tertullian reported that since he knew precisely when Jesus died (14th of Nissan or March 25), he also knew exactly when he was conceived! He was most-likely wrong in his conclusions, but at least we can now see how they arrived to date of Christmas.

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The logic went as follows: If Jesus was conceived on March 25 then counting forward to the 9 months of Mary’s pregnancy would place His birth on December 25. This is especially intriguing because January 1st used to be celebrated as the Day of Christ’s circumcision (8 days from the evening of Dec. 24).

It is very important to note that it was not until the 4th-6th centuries of the Common Era that Christians began to “Christianize” the local pagan celebrations of the peoples they sought to evangelize. There is no doubt that it was at this time, but not before, that Christmas began to acquire some of its pagan traditions. Why? Because until c.300-320 CE, Christians were fighting a counter-cultural war with the pagans of the Roman and Persian world. Consequently, they were not in the mood for cultural adaptations just yet.

Since December 25 as the supposed date of Christ’s birth was circulated 100-150 years before the practice of “Christianizing” pagan celebrations commenced, it is unreasonable to conclude that this date was adopted to please the Roman pagans as popular conspiracy theory suggests.

It is true that in 274 CE a Roman Emperor declared December 25 to be, “The Day of the Unconquered Sun,” (Sol Invictus). However, that was some 70 years after Christians had settled on December 25 as their Christmas date. (Moreover, the decree itself may have been issued to help stamp out the newly established Christian celebration). Before answering our main question, I think we should answer few related ones:

Is Christmas a Biblical Holiday?

No. It was not commanded by God in the Bible.

Does the celebration of Christmas contain elements that are pagan in origin?

Absolutely. There is no doubt about that whatsoever.

Is December 25 the correct date for celebration of the Birth?

Possible, but highly unlikely.

And finally, is Christmas a Pagan Holiday?

There is nothing pagan about speculating that December 25 is the birthday of Jesus.

Inaccurate?

Probably.

Pagan?

No

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299 COMMENTS

  1. Alright, friends. As promised…. here comes the most controversial post of the year. I anticipate a lot of “hate” mail to come my way. Please, prove me wrong!

  2. I have a question not about Christmas, but a very serious topic about Yeshua as a Messianic I have been told that some Messianics do not believe in the deity of Yeshua and don’t believe in the father, son, and Holy Spirit that they r one.please help! Confused !

  3. I believe that Luke 1 gives three time clues that show Jesus’ birth to be during the Feast of Tabernacles…late September to early October. I have read studies that verify this in my spirit. It’s not a big thing one way or another, but it surely helps me accept all the secular nonsense attached to Jesus” birth date of December 25th. I celebrate during the Feast of tabernacles and enjoy the secular stuff in December! It’s a win-win for me! God bless you and Happy Christmas season!!

  4. Happy to leave you wrong. A well balanced response. Christians need to be careful about how they practice and emphasize the holiday, but finding a conspiracy of paganism around every corner is counterproductive. (Paul’s teachings about food sacrificed to idols seems to apply in principle here)

    • Absolutely right and because the census was always taken in september and joseph and mary went to bethelham to register but every inn was full so they had to use a cave , a place where they kept the animals!According to the early jewish writings, JESUS was born on Seot. 11! It goes by when the census was taken and that was in september always! And that is when JESUS is coming back, at when the feast of trumpets! When we celebrate Jesus birth, we remember that he was born but born to die for all of humanity!

  5. I look forward to your posts. My former teacher/ pastor of Ed. emphasized that we “think Hebrew” when we studied scripture. You add just that insight and truth to the written word, Thank you for your dedication.

  6. Hate mail should never exist, however, let Wisdom be to our Ehad all Glory for He is our giver of all Wisdom. Very controversial topic but let the Truth shine.

  7. Thank you for this post, Dr. Eli. I am sorry that there will likely be hate mail generated by the content; it is a sad commentary. I found it thought provoking and interesting. Those who feel impelled to send nasty notes are insecure at best….

  8. You should see David Pawson teaching about christmas. He goes very deep through pagan history, christian church history and also through bible. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqwxP4hJSzE&list=PLfk5IZQHKovIpxd-x8XVFExKAOWkGD_g9 There are three parts: The Traditions of Christmas – The Truth About Christmas Part 1 The Church and Christmas – The Truth About Christmas Part 2 What the Bible says about Christ’s Birth – The Truth About Christmas Part 3

  9. I believe Jesus was born in spring because shepherds were out in the field and the month of december would have been too cold for the sheep and too much snow for them to find food.

    • I am w a good pastor on this that Jesus was born the same time lambs were born because He was born to be the Lamb of God (which is only once a year at the same time) which was why the shepherds were watching them at night & didn’t bring them in. The rest of the year, they aren’t outside at night. I forgot time/season of it but it’s probably spring.

  10. Wonderful article, thank you! In my Bible studies, I’ve come to the conclusion that Jesus was possibly conceived around the time of the Feast of Dedication, which is not far from December 25th and was probably (not certainly) born on the Feast of Tabernacles…”The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us”. Since life begins at conception, I see no issue with celebrating the birth of our Savior at December 25th.

  11. Admin bar avatar There shouldn’t be any hate mail. This article is information on how and when a Christmas holiday came about. Thank you so much I enjoy these questions and answers.

    There shouldn’t be any hate mail. This article is information on how and when a Christmas holiday came about. Thank you so much I enjoy these questions and answers.

  12. Thank you Dr. Eli, I find your comments very interesting. I see where the arguments regarding the festivals as being part of the argument regarding the birth of Jesus. I praise God that His plan to give us salvation and redeem us from the fallen nature was to walk with us in an earthly body, to give us an example that, yes, we can walk with God in this earthly condition. And to argue over when this took place reminds me of the arguments of life resolve nothing. It is our relationship with our God that counts! MY opinion!!

  13. I do believe that the Emperor Constantine had a lot to do with this holiday. I do believe it has Pagan origins. It is a WORLDLY holiday, it’s a TRADITIONAL holiday, it’s a FAKE holiday as well as being a COMMERCIAL holiday and has NOTHING to do with YESHUA (JESUS) at all. It was too cold in Dec. The shepherds put away the animals in Oct. and didn’t bring them out again until Mar. or April. He was born in September at Sukkot.

  14. Shemaryahu Talmon published a study and reconstruction, without a doubt, an order of the priestly relay system for the Jerusalem temple (1 Chronicles 24: 7-18) in New Testament times. With this dating made by Shemaryahu Talmon, it is possible to establish, more or less a given of the conception and the birth of John the Baptist, and consequently a time of data of the birth of Jesus. …12/25… Tommaso Federici, a professor at the Pontifical Urbanian University, and a Vatican adviser.

  15. I applaud your courage, facts do not lie. Just a few days ago I avoided an argument about the issue of Christmas being a pagan holiday because the person was adamant about the pagan roots about Christianity. Unfortunately our Western culture is making Christmas look and feel like a pagan holiday, which fuels a latent anti Christian bias.

  16. Your stance is faulty! You state that observing the anniversary of one’s birth is a pagan practice. Therefore, for the early believers to adopt this practice proves that they were in fact ready to adopt to pagan practices! It would seem to me that this was a form of early adoption of worshiping God in the manner of how the pagans worshipped their gods, which is forbidden in Torah!

  17. Many arguments against December 25th seem to be weather based, as in, sheperds in the fields, etc. These assume that frigid winter’s would prevent this date, without accounting for latitude. There is no doubt about paganism and commercialism taking over this celebration, just as they have invaded other areas of Christian thought and practice. Thank you for your insights.

  18. This is not hate mail. I like to read what people conclude from Scripture and cultural ideas around the time that book of Scripture was written. What do you think about the idea that it could not be Dec 25 because shepherds and sheep were in fields at night, and in winter it is too cold? I have heard that explanation before.

  19. Thank you, Dr. Eli. It is ironic that some non-believers hang on to Christmas more than believers do; however, they abide by more of the ‘Pagan’ aspect. I always look forward to seeing what you have to say about history. I wish I could be in Israel taking classes. Some day…

  20. Hate, no. As a Torah observant Messianic believer I always look for the truth. I disagree with you on many things, but this one I find intriguing. It goes against one of the pet charges we often lay at Christians feet; but still if it is true then it is what it is. If it wouldn’t be giving away the store, what are your references for how they came up with Dec 25 as the date? I see the method, but where do you see that the church fathers saw it?

  21. I certainly do not want to send hatefulness your way. But! If you’re going to condone/encourage Christmas, then go ahead and do the same for Good Friday/Easter. I have zero doubt that Yehovah see’s them both thru the same lens. Remember the golden calf situation @ Mt. Sinai? Intention clearly makes no difference to the Creator. Worshipping a tradition born out of pure paganism and throwing Yeshua in the middle of all of it, (atheists who partake excluded), and calling it all so holy…that’s purely insane. Surely, you don’t participate in this x-mess, do you?

    • If you read my article carefully and some people in this forum have, I think you will have to agree that I am not encouraging anything. I have only argued that the date of Christmas December 25 has nothing to do with wanting to Christianize pagan practices. You can buy my argument or you can reject it, but trust me I have no ideological bone behind this. I personally don’t do Christmas as most Christ-followers in the world do, but I think that much of accusations of paganism is none-sense historically speaking.

  22. Nice READ But you didn’t really address When you believe Christ was born The reference to Mary and Joseph going to register for their taxes We must know what time of year that was there must be an official account of that In history .

  23. This is not hate email, just food for thought. People all over the world celebrate Christmas. Most do not believe in the Messiah. But as I read the Word of God, I see only 2 Birthday Parties…Murder happened at both…One of which the head of John the Baptist was removed from his torso, and given as a gift to the daughter of Herodias,. (Salome) God’s people celebrated a birth, but never a birthday… Yeshua (God) ( Immanuel with us) was more than likely born on the Feast of Tabernacles. (Sukkot) The Feast God say all Nations will Celebrate or ?????.

    • Thanks, Nancy. A number of people of pointed that out that the only annual celebrations of birth were not very good in the Bible, but I think it goes to show a very narrow approach we are using to what is good or bad. I think that birthdays are just like a lot of things in life. They can be bad and good :-).

  24. I guess I will never understand anyone’s need to spew “Hate” mail. It serves absolutely no purpose. If one disagrees with someone else, that is their privilege, and a comment is exactly that: a comment. Is Christmas a pagan holiday??? Who knows, except God? I think that any holiday is exactly what an individual wants it to be, it all depends on how and why you celebrate it. The fact that Jesus was born to fulfill God’s purpose and that mankind’s salvation IS that purpose is certainly a reason to celebrate as far as I’m concerned. JOY TO THE WORLD

  25. I read an interesting article in the web sight One for Israel on this same subject called, “Christmas, Pagan or Kosher”. It had a different approach and I enjoyed the insight of both. I really appreciate your work and I read “The Jewish Gospel of John” which was excellent. I want, above all, to honor our Lord. As I see it, He was born to die so I could be born again. This time of year is an opportunity to share that truth. Have a blessed Christmas and Hanukkah. Myra Shire Groce

  26. Interesting re Mar 25 death date –our wedding anniversary! Have you assimilated the possible Epiphany date of 25 Dec, 2 BC, based on Babylonian astrological interpretations and known planetary positions?

  27. I have been taught in the Methodist church UK everything you have said here, since way back – it’s so good to hear this re-iterated and confirmed by you!

  28. The celebration of the birth of Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus) is becoming more and more blurred by festivities that are representative of the materialistic and secular, western culture in which we live (personally, NZ). Personally, the word “Advent” carries more meaning as it is derived from the Latin word Adventus, meaning “coming”. Originally it was celebrated as preparation by early century Christians in looking forward to the second “coming”, Christ’s return in glory. It then became the practice of Christians of looking back to the the birth of Christ AND the second coming. Which is precisely where we are today.

    • These verses talk about practices, not dates. The practices God condemns often in the scriptures have to do with putting sons and daughters through the fire and the sexual practices involved in worshipping fertility god/desses. Also, about not ascribing to creation or any other being the glory or the credit for supplying food through the provision of rain and sun. At least, that is what I perceive. In agreement with Rev Nace below.

  29. Best exposition I have read in recent times. I like the grace you extend at the conclusion. I believe paganism is more a matter of practice and content than dates. Culture (religious culture) is strong as is tradition.

  30. For us, Mormons, Jesus Christ was born on April 6 because He Himself said it in one of the revelations given to Joseph Smith. It’s what we believe, but we respect other opinions … Merry Christmas

    • Who is Joseph Smith? ALL revelations (life and death) comes from God alone. Every self-claiming prophet borrowed, stole? their visions, revelations from God’s Word. Am i wrong?

  31. Using scriptures, Yeshua’s conception timeline is explained in Luke. He explains when Elizabeth concieved and that she was 6 months along when Mary concieved, as the angel said. Her husband was serving a specific course in the temple, which many have dated as about the current calendar June 13-19 and Elizabeth concieved shortly after Zechariah returned home. Counting 6 months gets you to around December 20th as the day of Mary’s conception. That would place the holy birth in late September or early October, which would be during or close to Sukkot. This makes sense about lack of room too.

  32. I appreciate the analysis Dr. Eli. Have you looked into dating the birth of Y’shua according to the birth of John? Luke 1:36 makes clear that John was conceived 6 months prior to Y’shua. John’s father, Zacharias, was serving in the temple, according to the order of Abijah, immediately before John’s conception. Using the order of service to give a baseline date, adding 6 months for John and another 9 months for Mary’s pregnancy, we can extrapolate that Y’shua was born in the fall, around the time of the fall feasts. This would also seem to agree with weather conditions.

  33. Believe it or not the Jews have been observing the conception of Christ since Moses. Jesus was born on 27th March 7BC, 4 days after the spring equinox. And on the forth day God created the Sun… 280 days earlier the Peace Offering in 8BC was on the Saturday June 20th the textbook gestation period for a woman to conceive and give birth. What better peace offering could man get than the conception of the SON OF GOD ?

  34. Yes you are correct in the origins surrounding Christmas, December 25 in all probability is not our Saviours actual birth date. It also may have originally been introduced on this day to appease pagan festivals. “But is it pagan in our lives?” In the Maccabeen revolt the Israelites rededicated the temple, because of the birth of Jesus we rededicate our lives, our body is the temple of the Lord. The actual day or not every day is the Lord’s day and we worship the one living God, “Yehoshua Hamashiach.” (Jesus the Messiah) Joy to the World.

  35. Dear Dr Eli I am currently doing studies with eteacher hoping that you may have taken at least one of the classes. I am sorry to have missed out there. I love reading your posts and I love your slogan: The Bible needs to be re read not rewritten. So many truths come to light, Christmas: at least once in the year we can present to our city the message that God sent His Son into the world Google …Stable on the Strand… see how about 70 churches of Townsville, North Queensland join to present the message of Jesus birth.

  36. Shepherds in the fields of Bethlehem were there at lambing season to check the lambs were fit for temple worship. So it is not surprising that shepherds were sent to check the Lamb of God at His Birth. Lambing season is Springtime. Jesus at 12 years old was in the Temple therefore at his 12th birthday staying on for the 7 days as required for a novice priest. This was of course Passover week. At 33 no wonder Jesus was eager to celebrate his Birthday and give us His gift: The New Covenant. Gal 4:4… the set time … Passover?

  37. As a Crypto Jew, this topic has always been controversial: from embracing it as a child, to hating it after learning about the negative aspects of xmas. However, as a result of intelligently-written information like this as well as aging and hopefully getting wiser, I’ve become neutral in my position and have come to embrace some aspects of the xmas holiday. Instead of focusing on xmas negativity, I choose to focus on my wonderful childhood memories associated with colorful xmas lights. It also helps to see how these same lights help to bolster Hanukka and the Light of the world.

  38. Interesting to read your comment about christmas.when the early church split from its Jewish roots, it all went pearshaped. Christmas i believe comes from Christ’s Mass. In my veiw it is the old Saturnalia festival. Many things have been added and some of them in error. The only real truth is that Yeshua/Jesus was born.

  39. I was born in Holland and we always celebrated Christmas as a Holy Day. Went to Midnight Mass followed by a very peacoefilled and loving day with the Family. I just hate the way the world has lost the sense of the Sacred and lost Faith. It is all about parties but God is left out of it. Thanks for you interesting thoughts.

  40. LUKE 1:5 Of the course of ABIA , ZACHARIAS was serving . CHRONICLES 24:1O . The seventh to Hakkoz, The eight to ABIJAH. C J

  41. You come close to turning around the question about whether Christmas is a Biblical Holiday. Of course, you’re right that it’s not a commanded holiday. The opposite question is whether it’s an unbiblical holiday (meaning, against the Bible). Many in my tradition over the last 150 years said it was unbiblical and marshaled all the pagan elements in the holiday to make their case. But if the question is framed as whether celebrating the Incarnation on a particular day is against the Bible, the answer is pretty clearly, “Of course not!” Thank you for your insight.

  42. The article about the origin of 25 December as the date for the birth of Yeshua Messiah is thought-provoking and well-timed (and it’s OK if some find it controversial). While shorter, it seems similar to a 2002 article titled ‘How December 25 became Christmas’ by Andrew McGowan published in the Biblical Archaeology Society’s magazine, ‘Biblical Review’ (no longer published). A link to the article was included in the BAS’s Bible History Daily e-mail of 20 December 2017 and the article can be accessed at: https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/how-december-25-became-christmas/

  43. I have always found it interesting that people slap Yeshua’s Name on all their celebrations and it’s supposed to make it okay. I really question that……

  44. Shalom , We are no longer Gentiles in Yeshua , if we are a Gentile then there’s no covernant for use , The new jersuilem has 12 gates there’s no Gentiles gate. The new covernant is to the house of Joseph and Judah Jeramiah no gentile covernant , We crossed over Like Ruth , Let your YHVH be my YHVH . One law to all we are a mixed multitude and some people will be the lost house the northern kingdom . YHVH is waking up Epraime . It you love me obey my commandments keep sabbath don’t worship Idols

    • That is exactly the problem 🙂 with your thinking. 🙂 Gentiles means Nations (not a bad word at all). If you are not Nations, but are Jews you have displaced the Jews (who don’t yet believe the Gospel) as REAL Jews. Guess what? this is Replacement Theology par excellance!!!! I suggest to visit this page and to read (deeply) as much as you can on this topic – https://israelbiblecenter.com/category/jewish-apostle-paul/

      • The church is always trying to replace Israel…They don’t understand the meaning of Grafted In, nor do they want to. This is why it is so difficult to find places to worship in Spirit and Truth.. Scripture: Romans 11:17-24

  45. Everything happens lawfully and not arbitrarily. Jesus Christ had to be lawfully born at the uptimal star alignment for His earthly birth. Therefore, the best and surest way to find His birthday is to find the date His Star and The Star of Bethlehem that the Magi stated rose in the east was sighted. Its calculation must consider the *cyclical* date of the spring equinox and the Law governing the period for the conception and birth of the *spiritual* human being on earth. I believe that It occurred/occurs on the 29th of December.

    • A more easy answer. Your Bethlehem star is just that of Numbers 24:17. Nothing mysterious (astronomically) at all. Remember, the author, Matthew was not an astronomer for sure!

  46. Shalom, Not all the tribes are Jews the scattered house are Isrealites they are lost in the nations YHVH said he will gather the lost house and we are grafted in the Isreal , We do not replace Israel . He knows his lost sheep and he will make the two houses one .We are grafted into the house off Joseph the two sticks become one . We are adopted sons He see use as brothers , children .family .

  47. I am not sure I am writing this well enough . If we are not grafted into Isreal then we have no part In the new covernant as it only made with house off Joseph and Judah , there’s no place for any other People . I see it that’s it’s all about Israel his covenant people . Yeshua is coming back to reunite his lost house the northern kingdom and southern kingdom . We have to become adopted sons or we do not fit into scripture as a family . Shalom

    • You are grafter into the Olive Tree of God’s People. Read the articles I referred you to carefully (and with open mind). You are grafted in but you are part of Israel not as a Jew, but a member of the nations – a high calling indeed!

  48. I researched this several years ago using the Hebrew calendar and finding out when John the Baptists father would have went to the Temple to do his service. The Discourse of Abajiah was done twice a year. The problem is which time of the year did he serve. We can not be sure. Your guess is good as mine. When we get to heaven I would like to talk to Mary about the events to satisfy my curiosity.

  49. DR. ELI LIZORKIN: I am a supervisor and was just talking to one of those I supervise, I could tell she thought I was crazy, as she has learned since she was a child that Christmas is Jesus B- day. Sometimes, it is difficult of letting go of taught traditions, as it seems from some of these comments, I understand your article and since I want to go deeper in how the Jewish religion is connected to Christianity, I love reading them! The Bible clearly speaks of the Jews being God’s First chosen people, be blessed to be grafted in.

  50. The truth is no one really knows his birthday, so no one should be offended by your article. Christmas is now more about giving presents and celebrations and I have noticed its less and less about Jesus and the significance of his birth. This is what is now “Pagan” Thank you and may he continue to use you to show others his truths.

  51. What is “hate” mail, according to the bible? The Word of God is Truth. All else is error. It is easy to speculate and interpret the bible according to our own understanding. The truth is that without Christ (The Anointing), we remain deaf to hearing and blind to seeing the Truth.

  52. What is wrong with commemorating His birthday? 1 John 2:15-16,21 [15]Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [16]For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. [21]I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

  53. Thank you for this article. Since we do not know when Jesus was born, teaching that December 25 – or any specific date – was the birthdate would be teaching a genealogical speculation, something 1 Timothy 1:4 says not to do. It would be a mythical teaching about Jesus, something Titus 1:14 says not to do. It would be better to simply teach that Jesus was born at some time, celebrate the birth as we might celebrate the Second Coming, without a date.

  54. Dr Eli, the question whether or not Christmas is pagan could be simply answered by Jeremiah 10:1-5, 8, 14 where clearly The Most High is speaking to Israel through Jeremiah the prophet… about a custom Israel had picked up in captivity in Babylon. The question would rather be “Would serve the Most High or Baal?” after reading the above Biblical Reference. We are provided with Holy Convocations or Feasts to observe in the Torah (Leviticus 23)

  55. Some thoughts about not worshiping as the pagans do are that God was saying no bowing before an image, as He is greater than ANY image (He is living and the image is dead); no worship with sexual orgies ( is the phrase “They got up to play” with sexual connotations?); no murdering your children as sacrifices , no giving credit to other “gods” or to rituals for fertility of land or womb, no worship of creation instead of the ONE who created, for even though creation is full of living things, the Creator is greater and distinct from it.

  56. The Gospels of Luke tells us that there were shepherds living in the fields watching over their sheep when an angel of the Lord appeared to them and announced the birth of Christ. It seems to me that the shepherds would would only live out in the field when the weather was warm and the harvest season was done and I do not believe that that’s in December. That seems to be more between June and September. What are you thoughts Dr?

    • Folks, I live in Israel. It is December now. We still have some shepherds out. Point: No one knows when it happened. Had it been important the Gospels would have born a witness to it like they did in the case of Jewish Christ’s death.

  57. Just because Christians celebrate Christmas at the same time as a pagan celebration does not make it a pagan celebration. E.g, We celebrate Easter at the same time as the Jewish Passover; that does not make “our” Easter a Jewish celebration. The two are different. In the same way, Christmas, for Christians, is a celebration of the birth of our Saviour, Jesus. We don’t particularly celebrate Christmas because it was His birthday, but that His birth and the manner of it was so unique and so special.

    • Furthermore; Some criticize because December 25th is not His true date of birth. So what? In some British commonwealth countries we celebrate the Queen’s birthday with a one-day holiday. We don’t all celebrate on her actual birthday – it’s become standardized for the sake of making things easier. Another example; a baby is born on February 29th – Leap day. When should the family celebrate its birthday each year? I say the actual DATE does not matter.

  58. Just a comment: Paul identifies three groups of people when he says in 1Corinthians 10:32 ‘Give no offense to the Jews, nor to the Gentles, nor the Church of God’ That third group contains people from the first two, unique in itself No fear! They retain their origin either Jew or Gentile.

  59. Pleasant Sabbath to all. Dr. Eli has played the “devil’s advocate” with his timely article. He succeeded in having lots of responses on the subject. I love that. My own take on that is….Why celebrate birth dates anyway? The recipient had nothing to do with his / her birth and date. Therefore why celebrate Christ’s birth date , or any one’s own? Come on, Celebrate what he used to celebrate for he came as an example, let’s follow him, CHRIST. Shalom all!!!

  60. IN Luke 1:5 – 31 Zacharias served in the 8th mounth as it says he was of the course of ABIA , go to chronnicles 24 :10 . He went home after his served so Elizsabeth gets pregnent in the 9th Mo. and John is born in the 6th mo.. 6 Mo. later Christ is born. that is the 12th mo. that is Dec. BUT, THE JEWISH NEW YEAR DOES NOT START IN JAN. They have more than one new year. Using the Fall new year after the grain harvest.. So moving it back 3 mo. makes it Sept.Oct.

  61. After reading all the pros and cons about this post. I have questions. Can we now murder? Steal? Lie? Covet? Does our Creator allow His creation act anyway they choose for themselves? Why make up our own holidays instead of celebrating His? Are we grafted into His chosen people or are they grafted into us? Have we replaced His children and through grace get to be spoiled, disobedient, selfish brats? Christmas was outlawed in the US until 1907. Why? Why celebrate the very pagan Easter instead of the very biblical Passover?

  62. My question is should we celebrate His birthday at all. The Scriptures don’t mention it. The celebration of birthdays and the giving of gifts there are both of pagan origin. And every birthday celebration in the Scriptures is accompanied by tragedy, or at least little good. The exception is Pharoah’s birthday in which one was returned to his previous position. As to the timing of His birth, I still lean toward late Sept, but I’m not here to write a book about these things. 🙂

  63. This article is brilliant! Thank-you so much – and very timely too. There have been recent conversations about the pagan/Christian roots of Christmas in our fellowship group, particularly generated by a young, new believer who is desiring to honour the Lord in what he does. I have been doing my own basic research on Christmas roots after our recent conversations (doing it again – I’ve done it before!) as I personally LOVE Christmas, but don’t want to dishonour our Lord. I really appreciate that you haven’t ‘taken sides’ – you’ve simply provoked thought. Again – thank-you! Perfectly written and refreshing.

  64. Dr. Eli – In John 1:1-14 we are told that “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” The Word was Yeshua, Who was most likely born during the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles or “Sukkot” in the fall because the word “dwelt” in the Greek means “tabernacled.” In Young’s Literal Translation this same scripture verse reads, “The Word became flesh and did tabernacle among us…” – As far as celebrating the birth of Jesus (whenever it was) I live by 1 Corinthians 10:31-33

  65. The day Jesus was born is anywhere between May 13 and October 13. the days Holy Mary visited the world at Fatima, in Portugal in 1917. Pope Benedict XVI wrote a book late 2012 that Jesus was indeed born Dec. 25, trying to forget Saturnalia and Sol Invictus. Vatican itself is built on the temple of Mithras. As for celebrating Jesus being born, it is the sole event celebrated by angels (and Isaiah) in the Bible, as it is game changer in how the Lord governs the world, by the Gospel. Jesus replaced Mithras as glory, hope of the world.

  66. I’ve heard it argued that the following passages foretell God sets aside His Sabbaths and feasts as He turns from Israel during the “times of the Gentiles.” Passages used include: Isa 1:13-14; Lam 2:6; Hos 2:11; 3:4-5; 9:5-6; Amos 5:21; Mal 2:3. The Gentiles seek, then, to make the name of God (Jesus) great among the nations (Isa 11:10 & Rom 15:12; Ezek 3:5-7; Mal 1:11; Acts 28:28). Is this a correct understanding of these OT prophets? Paul seems to affirm this concept in Acts, Romans and to the Colossians in 2:17.

    • Shalom, Mark. Without looking carefully at each reference “on the face of it” the argument that was presented to you (that you are describing) relies very heavily on dispensationalist theological invention (if you ask me). I do not see God’s redemptive plan the way my dispensationalist brothers and sisters do (it is way too chopped up for my taste). So setting a side God’s Sabbaths for his people Israel sounds really crazy :-). Of course I recognize that there is a true newness to the revelation/mystery received by Apostle Paul (that Gentiles are now co-heirs of the promises of God

  67. Christmas may be Christian but definitely not biblical. There are many Christian traditions that are not from the Bible but copied from the secular world so there should be no surprise that Christmas is just one of them.

  68. I do no understand why people cling to Christmas and do not keep the Jewish Feasts. We know Yeshua celebrated Pesach (Pass Over) and Chanukah and most likely all the Jewish Feasts since he was a Jew. He and his Apostles set an example. Yeshua was most likely born in the spring or anytime other than Winter when the Sheep would not be in the pastures. Christmas & Santa Claus have become so terribly commercial.

  69. If one wanted to choose a day to remember the blessing of Yeshua’s birth, fine. As a community, it’s nice to have the same day and share the remembrance, as we would one of our parents or children. Gifts were given to Yeshua, so we could perhaps make a special offering of thanks to our community, towards a nice meal together. That’s all it needs to be. No Santa, no trees, no expensive debt causing gift giving, no stress! Just a nice “Hey God, thanks for our Savior” and a La Chaim!

  70. May be after all these interesting comments the main thing for me is that Jeshua is born in my heart and lives in me although I am also thinking that his real birthday could have been on pessah or on sukkot, but for sure no more pagan culture as Xmas trees etc.

  71. And WHATEVER YOU DO (no matter what it is – (Amplified Bible addition)) DO IT ALL in the name of the LORD JESUS, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:17.

  72. Great article Dr. Eli! I am assuming this way of thinking December is not the date of Messiah’s birth because the date is not on the Hebrew calendar. I find it is hard to believe that Mary was conceived by God’s Spirit on March and then celebrate the birth. Because the starting of the conceiving is like having Easter Sunday. I had stopped flowing the Julian calendar and started following the Jewish Hebrew calendar. Can it be possible he be born during the festival of the tabernacle? Because He say I will build this temple in three days?

  73. I think Christmas, despite its less than pure foundation in mandates from God, Scriptural support, and date uncertainty, is a very beautiful wonderful invention. I think I owe my faith in Jesus because of Christmas as a child. I never cared for Easter because it seemed Jesus HAD to rise, He is GOD! Good Friday, in my mind for decades, was the holiest day, remembering the suffering and death of Jesus, God the Son, in my place, for my sins, and allowing Himself, the omnipotent creator, to be murdered by His creation out of unimaginable love for us.

  74. I don’t care what means (scripture) people use to try to justify and keep to their traditions, to rationalize Dec. 25th , as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord the way He wants to be served. I only want to please my Master the best way I know how. “there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it is destruction”.

  75. I found this article very interesting. Some of the comments though are rather “unchristian”.
    If Christmas is rooted in paganism then I would like to remind the body that whatever Satan may have planned for evil, God turned it for good.

  76. “Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day-”
    ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭2:16‬ ‭NASB‬‬
    My opinion is whoever wants to celebrate Christmas let them do so and who ever does want let them be. Whoever believes it 25th it’s up to them. The important question is do they have a true relationship with the one they are celebrating.

  77. Feast of Tabernacles is accurate. Temple records show Zechariah finished serving at the end of June making July the earliest he could make Elizabeth pregnant. Mary visited in Elizabeth sixth month. Then six months after John’s birth in March would be Yeshua’s birth.

  78. I think there are some important elements of church history we must consider. A so called “lawful church” did not exist until Emperor Constantine became a beliver in Jesus (his Mother was converted first). He then unified all the Believers and started the first “state” run church in Turkey. It is obvious that paganism took root in this church. Years ago I read somewhere that all Roman gods shared the Dec. 25th B’day… Because of the connection to paganism, I prefer to think the “Lamb of God” was born in March.

    • I have also heard before as someone on this blog posted that census always in September? What is the source of that information? Would love to back that up.

  79. Dr. Eli, I believe you are correct on this item. Pagan or not christmas by its name tells us that it is most likely a move by the “church of rome” to begin with, Mas for Christ???? just saying. However, we do not have any guide in scripture that tells us when or if we should celebrate the birth of Christ, in the whole picture His birth is nothing compared to His death and the reason for it. Also, the date has to be wrong, shepards do not lay about in the field in December, it is snowing.

  80. There is so much superstitious data dealing with mythical being hundred of years before the life of Yeshua. Depending on the superstitious mind of the writer, and all of them were caught up in mystical superstitions, such as the six or more saviors being born on December 25th, some with angels and stars and being born in a cave, dying by a cruel death on a hill and buried in a cave with a stone rolled over the opening. And each had a resurrection. There is more evidence to suggest a spring birth born naturally.

  81. Go back to the birth of John the Baptist , Zachariah served in the temple he was the 8 course of Abia, . so from the first of the year he served sometime in June now follow the timeline of Mary and you will see that Mary conceived on dec 25 and 270 days later on September 29 the feast of tabernacle Jesus was born.

  82. Christians celebrated Jesus’ birth in the 120-130’s A.D. (Telesphorus of Rome). Theophilus (AD 115-181), Bishop of Caesarea said “the observance . . . of the birthday of our Lord [be held] on what day soever the 25 of December shall happen.” Hippolytus, (A.D. 170-236) in his “Commentary on Daniel” states “For the first appearnace of our Lord in the flesh took place in Bethlehem eight days before the Kalends of January [Dec. 25], on the fourth day under Emperor Augustus” Justin Martyr told Marcus Aurelius the Dec. 25 date was in the Roman tax registers from the Augustus census.

  83. Christians were celebrating Christ’s birth on Dec. 25 in the second century. In A.D. 274, the Roman Emperor Aurelian (AD 214-275) declared the pagan cult of sol invictus {Mithra} as the official religion of Rome. He proclaimed Dec. 25 as Natalis Solis Invicti, a national holiday dedicated to Mithra — This was proclaimed 93 years after Christians had been celebrating Christmas on that date (it was a midnight mass). So, the Romans hijacked the date nearly 100 years after the fact. Ancient historians refer to Roman census records as indicating 12/15 as Jesus’ birth — long before the pagans.

  84. Religions evolve and assimilate the cultures of peoples who have been converted.
    Pagan influence fallacy: It is a fallacy to suggest that just because Christian rituals are found or even originated in Pagan beliefs, it is therefore Paganistic.
    Genetic fallacy: wrongly judges a thing based on its history or origins rather than on its own merits. For example: Baptism has its origins in the rivers of Euphrates, Nile and the Ganges. Whereas John’s baptism is of repentance.
    Christmas and Easter were introduced to provide a wholesome, non-pagan alternative celebration and rejects the pagan holiday.

  85. I have no doubt in my mind having searched through human history and sacred history in the bible, yule termed Christ-mad is pagan from the onset. The bible is clear on what Jesus want the church to celebrate, like the Lord’s Supper … the early church brethren did not observe Christmas, I think they are our examples.

  86. Luke 1:26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from G-d unto a city of Galilee named Nazareth,… this is when Mary was visited by Gabriel. Luke 1:36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth hath also conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her,…39 and Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill with haste,… now of course this is dated by the Hebrew calendar and gives the app. time of both conceptions considering that Mary stayed about three months with Elisabeth, which would be the birth of John.

  87. Good article but i need clarity. Scripture says:Every word of God is pure. He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.Do not add to His words lest He rebuke you and you found a liar. Prov.30:5-6. Do people at any era have the mandate to add,edit and remove from the word of God. Why don’t we have a direct command from Christ or His apostles in regard to that day? Why did they wait for centuries to pass before they sneaked it into christianity to make it appear Christian. His death is worth celebrating than christmas.1cor.11:23-26

  88. My main concern is that it seems our children come away with the idea that Jesus ‘started’ at his birth. Jesus was in the beginning, with God, is God, & nothing that has been created was created w/o him. This awesome, powerful God humbled himself to be human because he loves us and desires us to be one with him. John 1:1ff is a key piece of the story that is often left out.

  89. Something came to me a few days ago. Since Yeshua said explicitly that no manwill know the day or the hour of His second coming, it may be possible that no man is supposed to know the day and the hour of His first coming… The Father could certainly have told us if He wanted us to know.

  90. “One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.” (‭Romans‬ ‭14‬:‭5-6‬)

    “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations…
    which all concern things which perish with the using— according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.” (Colossians‬ ‭2:16-20, 22-23)‬

  91. i enjoyed reading different and significant opinions about the certainty of dates referring to Christ’s birth. it just shows that people from all walks of life believed or consider the fact that once a upon a time, a child was born and His Name is Jesus Christ.
    i am personally thankful that Jesus Christ was born so that we will have life. I greet you all Happy Christ must be in our hearts.

    thanks Dr.Eli for the article about whether Christmas is pagan or biblical?

  92. First, the fact that something is not yet known does not mean it does not exist or it is not true. Second, similarity does not imply relationship but motive and significance override historical fact and cultural practice. Many things that we find in the Torah in the OT,especially “the Laws” are very similar to “the laws and practices” of the ancient near east kingdoms; but in no way are they the same. Why? Because God’s motive and significance of His laws and practices override those of other kingdoms and are unique to His Kingdom. See my line of reasoning underneath:

  93. The fact that the date about the birth of Jesus is not specifically known does not mean Jesus has no birthday. And the fact that people celebrate Jesus’ birthday on a day similar to a pagan celebration does not make it pagan. The dates and the practices may be similar but the motive and significance attached to it go far beyond the practice. In fact, Christian believers mostly engage themselves in prayers and fellowship meals on this day. So I don’t see any wrong in that. I can,t even believe that God would be crossed with that. Read more:

  94. Hashem gave laws to His people which were very similar to the laws of the surrounding nations; but which were unique to the people of Israel. Much as the laws were similar but the motives were different. That was the point and focus of God. Much as Christmas day allegedly falls on a pagan day but the essence of its celebration by the Christians is what makes it unique. And that is the point and focus of Christians; to appreciate and exalt God, not an idol, for bringing salvation to humanity through the birth of Jesus Christ, Immanuel. Read more:

  95. Finally, both the birth and death of Jesus were predicted in the OT (Isaiah 7:14, 53:5). Implying that both are important. In fact, there can be no death without birth. Jesus could not have brought salvation to suffering humanity if He had not been born. Man could not be saved if Jesus had not died. Therefore, both the birth and death of Jesus are equally significant and must be commemorated. In pagan societies too, people commemorate(d) the death(s) of their beloved ones. So there is no escape. But the point still is the motive and spiritual significance of the event.

  96. You wrote: There is no doubt that it was at this time, but not before, that Christmas began to acquire some of its pagan traditions.
    I was discussing this with someone and he said: where is the scientific (historical) proof of this? So my question is do you have any references, research to back this? Which historians wrote about this? I am curious, not attacking.

    • Have you ever heard of the Diocletianic Persecution? This period was basically the climax of Christian persecution by the Roman Empire. I doubt any Christian was interested in emulating the ways of the persecutors.

  97. Where in the bible is there a text that suggest that if a celebration is not explicitly written in the bible, it is not true? Does the bible know that the bible is a sacred document? Can the bible be put on the witness stand to defend itself? Does any of the NT authors tell us which books should be contained in the canon? This is a matter of authority.Christ gave authority to a Church that he established to teach “bind and to loose” Matt 16:18,19. The Catholic Church compiled, preserved and gave us the bible and proclaimed the festival.

    • To be certain, Yeshua established the hub of his ekklesia in Jerusalem. Despite all the good that Catholicism has done, neither Yeshua nor the disciples were Catholic. And besides that, the discussion is not about determining if a holiday is “true”. Typically, people on the opposition side of this issue point to Deu.12:30 and Jer.10:2 saying “Do not learn the ways of the nations” and “how they worshiped their gods.” So, it centers on whether believers (through certain holiday traditions) worship God in the way that nations worshiped their gods.

      • I note that you avoid the issue of authority that decides what kind of worship or feast is permissible. If the argument of those who disagree with the practice of Christmas based on the text cited, then baptism and the Lords Supper should also be questioned, since the authors of the OT did not foresee or prophecy that a NT document would appear.The early church father St Ignatius of Antioch a bishop was the first to pen the term Catholic Church about 107AD. He wrote “Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church.”

  98. I don’t think Christian today celebrate pagan Christmas, but most people do celebrate pagan’s christmas.if you celebrate Christmas with Christ-centered celebration, that’s Christian Christmas, but if you celebrate it without Christ, you already celebrate pagan’s Christmas. Some people didn’t realised they’re doing pagan’s Christmas by doing more alcoholic drinks, parties or immoral activities. As what I said, Christmas is about Christ and not about others.

  99. Interesting article. There is also a teaching based on the birth of John the Baptist and the vision of Rev. 12 that would place Jesus’ conception around our Dec. 25th and his birth on Tishri 1. It is based on the difference in time between John’s conception/birth and Jesus’ (Lk. 1:26-31)along with the father of John being a priest in the course of Abijah (Lk. 1:5). Then Rev. 12 is depicted as a vision relative to the birth of Jesus.

  100. No I dont do chrismas, yes I do celebrate life on 25 Des. Jesus is eternal and do not age. He dont want us to celebrate his birthday. If he wanted us to do so, it would have been stipulated in the bible.

  101. In my opinion 25 December is not a possibility for the birth of Yeshua because the shepherds could not have been out in the field with their flocks at that time of the year. Your thoughts?

  102. This year for the first time in 63 years I did not celebrate Christmas!

    For the world Christmas has become pagan again.

    A day to spend money, to drink and abuse alcohol instead to remember that he was born into flesh,a human to come and save us ..

    But come next September I will remember that He came, born between us sinners to save me from my wicked ways!

  103. If I may be the Devil’s advocate for a moment. It could be argued that the very heart of Judaism is circumcision, and Jesus being a Jew was circumcised. Now if doing something because it has Pagan connotations nullifies the Godly aspect of the act and turns it into a Pagan worship (as many here argue that Christmas is), then Jesus’ circumcision was also an act of Pagan worship because circumcision is a ritual that was carried from 4,000 BC by Egyptian priests, i.e. for well over 1,000 years before G-d commanded Aram/Abraham to circumcise the Children of Israel.

    • With that logic, Bob, we should feel comfortable doing all things pagan. Rather, I think the issue here is whether the Bible commands or approves of it. Circumcision it commands, but Christmas, not so much.

  104. Would the shepherd’s have their sheep out at this time of year? Look at the weather forecast in the israel area and it’s 10-13° ,at night about 5° no problem to the Shepherd or the sheep.

  105. I think we spend to much time asking and trying to prove something that is not at all contributing. The fact still remains that Jesus Christ was born, He did die upon the cross and most importantly, He did rise from the dead. Celebrating that should be the focal point of all Christians.2 Timothy 2:16-26. God bless

  106. Jesus is from eternity to eternity. Does it really matter when He became human on earth? No, it doesn’t. Just be one with the One ( Christ) every day and stop this 25 December issue, please. There are people dying , being martyred for being Christ followers around the world as we speak who needs our prayers. The tree that you cut down is already lying on some trash heap. Celebrate Him every day. Shalom

  107. I don’t care if Jesus was not born on Dec 25th. I celebrate the birth of God’s son and I don’t worry about what the pagans might have done or how they celebrated anything on this or any other date.

    Love Jesus and be thankful that God sent him to us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  108. I fumbled with this idea myself within the past year. However the Father brought me below Scripture. Well, whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do it all for God’s glory. … then, you are eating or drinking, or whatever you are doing, let everything be done to the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31. Pretty much everything you see has some sort of pagan connection. So long as the celebration is about commemorating Christ and living in a Spirit of the New Covenant peace, love and joy and not anything else, there is no harm in doing.

  109. If He had wanted us to celebrate His birthday I think He would have told his Apostles to do so. He said for us to follow Him. He was a Jew and he kept the Sabbath and the Holy Feasts. I have no choice but to join in or be called a Grinch. It is a time to be with family and I am thankful for that. Yes, whatever we do we should do it to the Glory of God.

  110. If Yahweh wanted Yahshua’s birth celebrated, He would have said so. In ,many births are mentioned, John the Baptist, Samuel, and yet NOT one single date is ever mentioned, because celebrating birthdays was pagan. Only Yahweh has a day, its the Sabbath, humans don’t have days to themselves. You cannot take something pagan and try to worship Yahweh by it. Deu 12:30-32, How did these nations serve their gods? And I shall do so, even I. Deu 12:31 You shall not so to YAHWEH your Elohim; for everything hateful to YAHWEH, which He detests, they have done to their gods.

  111. It is the death of Yahshua that we are to celebrate, not His birth.

    1Co 11:23 For I received from the Master what I also delivered to you, that the Master Yahshua in the night in which He was betrayed took bread;
    1Co 11:24 and giving thanks, He broke and said, take, eat, this is My body which is broken on behalf of you, this do in remembrance of Me.

    Birthdays have always been pagan, and Josephus states that Jews in the 2st century abhorred birthday celebrations. It is commercial Babylon, and Santa is from Satan.

  112. To disagree is not hate mail or do You mean many write obnoxious and vicious posts to you (but none are ever used)?
    Christmas, a corruption of Christ’s mass, is definitely WRONG and blasphemous. Many think or feel that salvation is found in Christmas – see the words of carols.
    Easter is pagan but where would a lot of false churches get a congregation if these two festivals were taken off the calendar?

  113. Crucifixion 30 CE Abib 14 as the Passover lamb
    Herod died 1 BC before Passover
    Magi to Bethlehem 2 BC (Dec)
    Yeshua born Abib 1, born as a Passover lamb (per ribbi Jonathan Cahn)
    Yeshua born 3 BC

    • Nisan 1, the Biblical New Year is an interesting theory. It makes more sense than requiring a census in winter or during a pilgrimage holiday.

  114. THE MESSIAH was born in the fall. The Romans are not dumb, census and tax collection in fall when people have money and travel is easy.Shepherds shelter sheep during winter months. Dec 25th=saturnalia and other pagan traditions.

  115. Dr Eli, is it true that original scripture did not honor the diety of Yeshua & cut yah out of his name leaving it Yeshu? The Chinese still have it so in their translation. Thanks,

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