The Gospels of Matthew and Luke provide well-known but quite different accounts of the event—although neither specifies a date. E., further details of Jesus’ birth and childhood are related in apocryphal writings such as the Infancy Gospel of Thomas and the Proto-Gospel of James.
These texts provide everything from the names of Jesus’ grandparents to the details of his education—but not the date of his birth. E., a Christian teacher in Egypt makes reference to the date Jesus was born.
Clement writes: “There are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord’s birth, but also the day; and they say that it took place in the 28th year of Augustus, and in the 25th day of [the Egyptian month] Pachon [May 20 in our calendar] …
Each of the Four Gospels provides detailed information about the time of Jesus’ death.
According to John, Jesus is crucified just as the Passover lambs are being sacrificed.
The modern Armenian church continues to celebrate Christmas on January 6; for most Christians, however, December 25 would prevail, while January 6 eventually came to be known as the Feast of the Epiphany, commemorating the arrival of the magi in Bethlehem.
The period between became the holiday season later known as the 12 days of Christmas.
Yet most scholars would urge caution about extracting such a precise but incidental detail from a narrative whose focus is theological rather than calendrical. As far as we can tell, Christmas was not celebrated at all at this point.
The extrabiblical evidence from the first and second century is equally spare: There is no mention of birth celebrations in the writings of early Christian writers such as Irenaeus (c. This stands in sharp contrast to the very early traditions surrounding Jesus’ last days.
The earliest mention of December 25 as Jesus’ birthday comes from a mid-fourth-century Roman almanac that lists the death dates of various Christian bishops and martyrs.
The first date listed, December 25, is marked: In about 400 C.
According to Clement of Alexandria, several different days had been proposed by various Christian groups.
Surprising as it may seem, Clement doesn’t mention December 25 at all.
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).