Tim Barnett answers an objection that claims December 25th was originally the date given for the birth of pagan gods.
Original Video: Well, we don’t know the exact day of his birth, so the 25th of December is as good a day as any. I’m not going to argue with you about that, as long as you recognize the reason that the church chose the 25th to begin with. December 25th was already an important date for pagan religions. Many of their gods were born on that date—to name a few, Horus, Mithra, Dionysus, Attis. They were all said to be born on December 25th. Some of them even had a virgin birth. Somewhere around the year 336 AD, Pope Julius I decided that Jesus’ birthday was December 25th. It took the focus off of the pagan gods, and it made it easier to convert pagans to Christianity. They kept a good amount of the pagan traditions and decorations and just threw Jesus’ name on it.
Tim: So, why do we celebrate Christmas on December 25th? This video would have us believe that December 25th was chosen because of its connection to pagan gods like Horus, and Mithra, and Dionysus, and Addis, and Tammuz. Here’s the problem—and it’s a big problem—there’s absolutely no evidence that any of these gods were born on December 25th. Go look up the primary sources for yourself. For example, there is no date given anywhere for Mithra’s birth—and I’m using the word “birth” loosely since Mithra came fully grown out of a rock. Likewise, the December 25th claims about Horus, and Dionysus, and Addis, and Tammuz are all total nonsense.
So then, why do we celebrate Jesus’ birth on December 25th? Well, it most likely comes from an old, odd Jewish idea that a prophet would die on the same day he was conceived, and since they believed Jesus was crucified at Passover on March 25th, they believed that was also the date of his conception. Now, do the math. Add nine months to March 25th and you get Jesus born on December 25th.
You might be wondering, is this Jesus’ actual birthday? Well, not likely, but we just don’t know. The biblical authors were more concerned with what happened than when it happened. Here’s what we do know from the historical record: The December 25th date for Christmas has nothing to do with paganism—like zip, zero, nada. The video also mentions other Christmas traditions like the Christmas tree and mistletoe. These aren’t pagan, either.
Ultimately, Christmas is about celebrating the birth of our Savior, Emmanuel, God with us. He is the reason for the season. Happy Christmas.