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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 Bible offers few clues: Celebrations of Jesus’ Nativity are not mentioned in the Gospels or Acts; the date is not given, not even the time of year.
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.
In the East, January 6 was at first not associated with the magi alone, but with the Christmas story as a whole.
So, almost 300 years after Jesus was born, we finally find people observing his birth in mid-winter.
E., when the apocryphal text known as the Epistle to the Apostles has Jesus instruct his disciples to “make commemoration of [his] death, that is, the Passover.” Jesus’ ministry, miracles, Passion and Resurrection were often of most interest to first- and early-second-century C. We can begin to see this shift already in the New Testament.
The earliest writings—Paul and Mark—make no mention of Jesus’ birth.