Speaking of dating Christmas, my favorite account comes from the Eastern liturgical great, St. John Chrisostom. Here is a note from NC Times, with the saint’s account of the matter:
Inside the Vatican magazine also supported Dec. 25, citing a report from St. John Chrysostom (patriarch of Constantinople who died in A.D. 407) that Christians had marked Dec. 25 from the early days of the church.Chrysostom had a further argument that modern scholars ignore:
Luke 1 says Zechariah was performing priestly duty in the Temple when an angel told his wife Elizabeth she would bear John the Baptist. During the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, Mary learned about her conception of Jesus and visited Elizabeth “with haste.”
The 24 classes of Jewish priests served one week in the Temple, and Zechariah was in the eighth class. Rabbinical tradition fixed the class on duty when the Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70 and, calculating backward from that, Zechariah’s class would have been serving Oct. 2-9 in 5 B.C. So Mary’s conception visit six months later might have occurred the following March and Jesus’ birth nine months afterward.
“Though it is not a matter of faith, there is no good reason not to accept the tradition” of March 25 conception and Dec. 25 birth, the magazine contended.