All over the world, millions of people gather on Christmas Eve, the 24th of Av. December to celebrate the imminent birth of Jesus Christ. But was Jesus really born on this date? Here you will find answers to all questions about Jesus’ birth.
Table of contents
When was Jesus born?
According to the legend Jesus Christ came in the night of 24. on the 25. December in the year 0 to the world. Christians around the world therefore traditionally celebrate the birth of the Messiah and Son of God on this date as the Christmas. But this is Jesus’ true date of birth?
In the New Testament no birth date of Jesus is mentioned. Also in the encyclopedia for theology and church is written: "The real Jesus’ birthday is unknown". This is not surprising, because the people at that time were still completely unknown year and day. Until today the true birthday of Jesus remains thus unsettled. In the meantime, however, historians are agreed that Jesus neither on the 25. December still in the year 0 came to the world.
Background: Jesus himself never wrote down his life story. What we think we know about him is based on the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the New Testament, each of which gives an account of Jesus’ life from their own point of view. Only Luke (1:26-2:52) and Matthew (1:18-2:23) tell stories of Jesus’ childhood and of his birth. The well-known biblical Christmas story about the birth of the Son of God, which is based on these two scriptures, is still the basis for many Christmas customs today: It is acted out in the nativity play in church services and in schools, read aloud at Christmas and traditionally re-enacted in many families by setting up a Christmas crib.
What is known about Jesus’ birth according to the Bible?
The Bible tells the life of Jesus and his birth.
So there is only little valid info about the actual date of Jesus’ birth. What is clear from the two biblical accounts of Luke and Matthew about this:
- Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea.
- Herod the Great was king in Israel at the time of Jesus’ birth. In fact, however, this died already 4 v. Chr. and not in the year 0. This brings the period from 7 to 4 v. Chr. for the birth of Jesus.
- Jesus’ parents were named Mary and Joseph, who were engaged to each other at the time of the birth.
- The birth of Jesus, according to the Bible, was a virgin birth by the action of the Holy Spirit.
What’s wrong with the date of Christmas?
According to the Bible, a date of birth in December is improbable, because there are various indications in it that the date of 25. December cannot be right.
The Christmas story tells that Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem and was laid in a manger.
The birth story of Jesus begins in the Gospel of Luke with the fact that the emperor Augustus of that time came to a Census calls. For this reason Joseph goes with the very pregnant Mary on the 150 kilometer journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. That this census took place in winter is unlikely in reality: would the emperor really have given his people such a long and arduous journey suggested?
When Mary and Joseph arrive in Bethlehem, she gives birth to their son. The newborn is swaddled and placed in a manger with clean straw. This is the reason for the assumption that Jesus was born in a stable in a manger. It says in the Gospel of Luke: "And there were shepherds in the same region, abiding in the open fields, keeping watch over their flock by night" (Luke 2:8). This also suggests a Birthday in a warmer season close: For in the depths of winter, in the area around Bethlehem no flocks of sheep in the fields to see. There are no grasses in the fields at this time of year and the animals are housed in a stable.
If not the 25. December was Jesus’ birthday, when then? About it researchers put up again and again new assumptions and theses. However, they are all not really valid and verifiable. When Jesus of Nazareth was really born will probably remain a mystery forever.
Why do we celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas?
The nativity scene under the Christmas tree stands as a symbol of the Christmas story: Mary and Joseph with the baby Jesus surrounded by shepherds, travelers and animals in the stable. A scene some 2000 years ago that is still the reason we celebrate Christmas today. But why do we celebrate the feast every year in December, if this is not really the birthday of Jesus??
Scientists are to this day not agreed, but the majority assume that the feast was celebrated on 25. December in 4. century under Emperor Constantine was introduced in Rome.
Figurative representations around the birth of Jesus in the form of Christmas cribs continue to delight young and old to this day.
A list of pagan feast days in the Roman calendar indicates that this date was a very special one among the pagans at that time. The Romans celebrated on this day the birthday of the roman sun god Sol Invictus, the winter solstice and the "rebirth of the sun". They lit solstice fires and performed festivals in the circus. In this time in December fell besides the Roman Saturnalia: a Roman peasant festival in honor of the god Saturn. Researchers assume that this date was therefore chosen as the feast of Christ’s birth. Probably in the 7. and 8. In the sixteenth century, the custom spread also in what is now Western Europe.
Did Jesus Christ really live? The most important information at a glance
There are many legends and myths surrounding Jesus’ life and birth. Few infos are valid and the fewest clarified with certainty. What is clear to researchers, however, is that Jesus of Nazareth really lived. His birth was thus a true event.
The childhood& Youth of Jesus
Scientists today suspect that the Messiah was not born in a stable in Bethlehem, but in a manger born in Nazareth became. His parents and he were Jews, little is known about his family and childhood. It can be assumed that Jesus had several younger siblings, because they appear in the Gospels, in the Acts of the Apostles, and in the letters of Paul. It also suggests that Jesus initially followed his father’s profession, which was some sort of building tradesman. Moreover, Jesus could read and write, the evangelists tell us. This privilege was reserved for only a small part of the population at that time.
The biggest turning point in the life of Jesus represented the Meeting with John the Baptist dar. Jesus was baptized by him and left his family to join the so-called "desert preacher" and devoted his life to religion. Finally he broke away from John and went wandering alone to proclaim his own message. As an itinerant preacher, he gathered around him an ever-growing group of followers.
Jesus as a preacher
The four gospels report in detail about Jesus’ Life as a preacher, his religious message, how he healed the sick and performed miracles. He proclaimed that the reign of God was near. He also addressed himself to the poor, the sick and the outcasts. Through his powerful sermons he became more and more popular among the people, which did not please the Roman rulers.
Pontius Pilate, the administrator of the Roman emperor, finally had Jesus arrested and sentenced to death Deaths by crucifixion Condemn. This probably happened in the years 30 or 31 n. Chr. According to legend, Jesus died on the third day after his crucifixion risen (easter). More 39 days later (Ascension Day) According to the Bible, God, his Father, took him back to heaven.
Customs around Jesus’ birth
Although the chronological order in the four gospels differs and the traditions are only partly alike, they still represent the Cornerstone of the Christian faith represented. Many beautiful Christmas customs such as nativity scenes and nativity plays go back to the biblical Christmas story about Jesus’ birth back – even if the date is not the true birthday of Jesus.
Celebrating Christmas today, even for many Germans who profess no faith, is a popular family tradition. This includes rituals such as getting together, baking cookies, setting up a Christmas tree and giving presents to loved ones. From the first Advent, candles, fairy lights, Christmas markets and carols create a cozy Christmas atmosphere throughout the country.