Around the world, everyone who’s fortunate enough to celebrate Christmas, knows that it’s the coolest holiday on the planet Earth. Not for any reason of religious superiority — far from it — but because the holiday has long since transcended its Christians roots to become a cultural celebration of warmth, family, food, and gifts. It’s the one time a year where people are urged on a cultural level, to not be so mean to one another. But how did we get here? How did Christ’s b-day get moved to the middle of winter, and how did the secular world latch on to the brightest, most joyful holiday in the world?
1. Every Pedant’s Favorite Fact: Jesus Wasn’t Actually Born on December 25
Well, he might have been. The truth is that historians can’t actually pin down the exact date of Jesus’ birth. If you’re willing to use the Bible as a reliable source of historical information — like trusting the placement of stars in the sky, or the fact that shepherds were both in their fields and willing to undertake a journey because, you know, astrology — then the good money puts Christ’s birth sometime in the early Summer.
2. Debate About His Birthday All You Want; For Christians Going Holy, That’s Not the Point
To be perfectly honest though, most early Christian scholars really didn’t care about the exact date of Jesus’ birth. On the level, no one is actually sure of the exact year of Jesus’ birth (only that it was definitely in AD 1). They were mostly interested in his time as a wandering moral do-gooder, and so most accounts of his life begin with his baptism, i.e. the moment he strapped on that Messiah hood. The message is clear: if you celebrate Christmas for religious reasons, you’re celebrating Jesus’ life, not the date of his birth. It’s important THAT he lived, not so much when. Okay, blah blah blah, on to the history!
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