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The early Christian community distinguished between the identification of the date of Jesus’ birth and the liturgical celebration of that event.The actual observance of the day of Jesus’ birth was long in coming.

An analogous custom is the Advent calendar, which provides 24 openings, one to be opened each day beginning December 1.

The precise origin of assigning December 25 as the birth date of Jesus is unclear.

The New Testament provides no clues in this regard.

In particular, during the first two centuries of Christianity there was strong opposition to recognizing birthdays of martyrs or, for that matter, of Jesus.

Numerous Church Fathers offered sarcastic comments about the pagan custom of celebrating birthdays when, in fact, saints and martyrs should be honoured on the days of their martyrdom—their true “birthdays,” from the church’s perspective.

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