The origin of Christmas

Now that I have the[ Logos bible study software on my Mac](, I consulted it to learn the origin of Christmas. My two main questions were:
**How did the name ‘Christmas’ come about?**
According to Harper’s Bible Dictionary,
> Christmas, the annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus, celebrated on December 25 in all churches except the Church of Armenia, for which it is January 6. The term appears as early as a.d. 1123 in Old English as ‘Cristes maesse’ (and variations) and ‘Christmas’ by 1568, meaning Mass of Christ.
**Why is Christmas on the 25th of December?**
This question has been in my mind for a while. After all, it’s not like the Bible recorded the exact date Jesus was born. I’ve read reports on how the actual date may be different but for various reasons, the Church settled on the 25th. According to the same dictionary,
> The actual date of Jesus’ birth is unknown. There is no evidence of celebrating the nativity before the third century. January 6 became widely observed in the third century to commemorate the ‘manifestation’ (‘epiphany’) of Christ on earth, including his birth, baptism, and the visit of the Magi, with varying local emphases. The celebration of the nativity is attested in Rome in a.d. 336 (where Epiphany, January 6, commemorated the visit of the Magi), and this became widespread in the fifth and sixth centuries. Although there are various theories on the selection of December 25, the most widely accepted is that this date had already been a major pagan festival, that of Sol Invictus, the ‘birth’ of the ‘Unconquerable Sun,’ marking the winter solstice (the sun’s triumph over darkness). With the triumph of Christianity, Christmas replaced the pagan festival, Christians having applied ‘Sun of Righteousness’ (Mal. 4:2) to Christ.
I think that there’s no need to quibble over the most exact date because that’s besides the point. We should look to the *spirit* of the occasion and those who believe should see this as a special time to celebrate, anyway.
A blessed Christmas to you!