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We know very little about the practices and rituals of the very early Church. In the earliest New Testament writings, the epistles of Paul and Hebrews, there is no mention of any interest in the birth of Jesus. Paul showed no interest in the early life of Jesus and did not even claim to have visited Bethlehem when he came to Jerusalem - which he surely would have done if his congregations were interested in that facet of his life. Even in the earliest gospel, that of Mark - believed to have been written around 70 CE, there is no mention of the birth of Jesus. So, from what reliable evidence we do have, the early Church did not celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Matthew, believed to have been written in the 80s of the first century CE contains the first known mention of the birth of Jesus, followed by Luke around the turn of the century. So, by the later decades of the first century, there may have been some interest in knowing about the infant Jesus.

The decision, to recognise December 25th as the birthdate of Jesus, was not taken until the fourth century, so this was probably around the time when Christmas really began to be celebrated.

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Q: Did the early church celebrate Christmas?
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