Latter-Day Saints believe that the actual date for the birth of Christ is April 6th of our modern calendar. Coincidentally this is the date of the founding of the LDS Church. There is a somewhat-clear citation for this in the LDS Doctrine and Covenants (somewhat clear because it admits of some small degree of ambiguity). Sorry but I don’t have the citation handy.
Those adhering to the traditional date may enjoy this:
Every December Christians (and many others who are not Christians but hear the gospel message nonetheless) center their lives in the miracle and mystery of the birth of our Lord.
And again, no one knows the actual day that Jesus was born. Attempts to calculate an exact date often fall into two schools of thought. Both methods depend on counting from the “course of Abijah.” A course was a specific time when priests served in the temple.
The first method begins with Luke 1:5, 8 where we read that Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, was serving the course of Abijah in the temple. 1 Chronicles 24:7-19 indicates that there were 24 courses. The assumption is that the eighth course was the course of Abijah and that this period of service started in early June. Assuming this conclusion to be accurate, some believe that we can count forward to discover the dates of birth for John the Baptist, and then by deduction, Jesus (born about six months after John, see Luke 1:24-36).
***Therefore, assuming that the pregnancies of both Mary and Elizabeth were normal in terms of length, John the Baptist would have been born in March, nine months after his conception in June. According to this calculation, Jesus might have been born in the month of September. ***
For some, the fact that the autumn festivals of the Old Testament begin at this time adds credibility to these calculations. If all these assumptions are correct, the conception of Jesus, when Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35), would have happened in the month of December.
The second method of trying to fix a precise date for Jesus’ birth counts backward rather than forward. When the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., the priestly course of Jehoiarib was serving. If the priestly service was unbroken from the time of Zecharias to the destruction of the temple, this calculation has the course of Abijah occurring in the first week of October. Some early Christian writers (John Chrysostom,
***347-407) taught that Zecharias received the message about John’s birth on Atonement, which falls in September or October. ***
This would place John the Baptist’s birth in June or July, and the birth of Jesus six months later, in late December or early January. Some advocates of this second method view believe that December 25 is the correct day of Jesus’ birth, while others believe that January 6 is the correct day.
Luke 2:1-7 mentions a tax census ordered by Augustus Caesar. The census records were eventually taken to Rome. Cyril of Jerusalem (348-386) requested that the true date of Jesus’ birth be taken from the census documents. He reported that the date he was given from these documents
was December 25. Unfortunately, these records are no longer available.
Pastor Craig Cunningham