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Editorial on Christmas

The Review of Religions, December 1990

The vast majority of Christian Churches proclaim that Jesus was born on the 25th December and it is on this date that Christians all over the world celebrate Christmas Day. Although the manner in which this occasion is observed raises many points of discussion, we are focusing attention only on whether or not Jesus was born on the 25th December. We quote the views and findings of some Christian authorities who believe that he was born at another time of the year.

Bishop Barnes writes:

There is, moreover, no authority for the belief that December 25th was the actual birthday of Jesus ... Our Christmas Day seems to have been accepted about 300 AD. (Rise of Christianity)
Chambers Encyclopaedia states:
There is no authoritative tradition as to the day or month of Christ's birth and some uncertainty exists as to the actual year. St. Clements of Alexandria refers to calculations which placed it in April or May.
The Encyclopaedia Britainnica informs us:
Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church, and before the 5th century there was no general consensus of opinion as to when it should come into the calendar. The exact day and year of Christ's birth have never been satisfactorily settled.
According to the Holy Quran the birth of Jesus took place at a time when fresh dates are found on palm-trees in Judea. After delivering Jesus under a palm-tree an angel spoke to Mary saying:
And shake towards thyself the trunk of the palm-tree; it will drop upon thee fresh ripe dates. (19:26)
The Bible mentions that shepherds were watching their sheep at the time of Jesus' birth which would have been most unlikely in December when the climate in Judea is extremely cold.