“What day is Jesus’ birthday?” is a question many Christians ask each year. It’s a fun and timely question to ask because on this day, December 25th, we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. We also give Him thanks for His privilege of coming back to this world at the hour when He was born. All throughout the ancient world, people celebrate the day known as “Annunciation Day” or “Diaries Day” when the mother of the Lord is said to bring forth her child.
The Bible calls the twenty-first day of December the feast of the Passover. Some scholars have explained that since Passover is the shortest festival among the three Christian festivals, it would make sense to honor Christ on this day as well. What about the meaning of the birth of Christ? What does the historical evidence show us concerning what really occurred?
There are some very interesting clues in the historical accounts of the Pilates and Ancient Egypt. Both of these religious movements were focused around the idea of the last day of one’s life. While there isn’t a precise historical account of when Christ was born, the most accurate accounts date the event some six centuries after His death. Scholars are unanimous in their belief that Christ was born during the winter of Tiberias sometime between December 25 and January 6.
Another possibility is that Christ was born during the spring or first week of May. The date would coincide with the dedication of the temple of Artemis Agrotera, which is located in the Jerusalem area today. The Temple was dedicated by the high priest Aaron of Torevel, as a commemoration of his conversion from Moleches worshiped earlier in the year. As you can see, even if the exact date of Christmas isn’t known – and it’s highly debated by scholars – the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus still holds the key to many of the customs and traditions associated with the celebration today.
Some Christians insist that the true meaning of Christmas is nothing other than the birth of Christ. They point to the fact that the two events share a number of similarities, and that the celebration of his birth on that day is what Christians call a ‘birthday celebration’. Christians view the birth of Christ as the literal truth, and they hold that today’s celebrations simply attempt to hold the same truth as did Christ’s. They claim that the true meaning of Christmas is a miraculous, last gift of redemption from sin. This view of Christ’s birth ties into Christianity’s depiction of him as a miracle worker. Many images related to the birth of Christ feature him holding a cross, and some even show Him holding the keys to the gates of Heaven.
Even non-Christians acknowledge the meaning of Christmas. In fact, during the year, many countries celebrate what day is Jesus’ birthday with special games and activities. A ‘Christmas tree’ is one such popular activity. Some people enjoy decorating their homes with Christmas ornaments, and some even go so far as to have a Christmas wreath made for them – although this can take the form of an artificial Christmas tree, the real thing is a beautiful decoration.
Christians view Christmas as a day set apart from other days of the year, a time to remember their Lord and what he has done for them. One important part of the Christian celebration of Christmas is the giving of ‘charity gifts’ to those who are unable to give in kind. This has had a somewhat macabre past, going back at least to the time when aristocrats gave charity items to children during the renaissance. But the tradition of giving charity gifts to those who cannot buy them on their own has continued, and today some of the more macabre gifts are made with the dead in mind.
A ‘birthday gift’ can be anything that the giver wishes to give on the day – it could be a beautiful poem written especially for the occasion, a nice piece of handmade jewellery, a sweet personalised message. Sometimes the gift is something that can be used to make someone happy, like tickets to a show, or an expensive gift, but it is also sometimes just something that will be appreciated, like a personalised pen. It may not seem like much, but to the one who is being given the present, it is big and significant, and reflects something about that person. And this is where the tradition of the ‘what day is Jesus’ birthday card comes in.