Truth vs. Fiction ~ The Christmas Story Part 2

Posted by on Dec 18, 2010 in Christmas | 0 comments

Yesterday, I began a two part series over our perceived ideas about the Christmas story and what the Bible actually says about it. (Click here to read yesterday’s post.) The Bible should be our primary source for truth and authority. Although I don’t recommend tearing the star off of the manger or tossing the wise men to the side of your nativity, I do think it is good to know truth from fiction when thinking, meditating, and teaching the story of Christ’s birth. Why God chose to include certain details in His Word about Jesus’ birth, and why He left others out, we may never know. The point, of course, as you take this quiz is not to focus on and become lost in each minute point but to remember why Jesus was born and focus on the truth Scripture teaches us about that wonderful event.

Again, I have taken these questions from Grace Community International.

Answer True or False to the following questions:

1. The wise men came to visit the baby Jesus in the manger

2. The three wise men came bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

3. The shepherds and the wise men all converged together upon the baby Jesus in the manger

4. The star led the wise men directly to Jesus

5. Jesus was a beautiful baby who grew into a handsome man with long, flowing hair

Ready for the answers…….

1. FALSE

Luke 2:8-16; Matt. 2:11

The shepherds came upon Jesus as a newborn, in the manger, wrapped in swaddling cloths. The Magi came later to Jesus’ house and found him as a young boy living in a house.

2. FALSE

Matt. 2:1

The picture of three Magi, on camels, following a star, each carrying a different gift of gold, frankincense or myrrh is a fabrication of the Christmas greeting card industry. The number of Magi is not known. Who carried what, the quantity and mode of transportation are all unknown. What is known is that they were Magi (plural form), thus there was more than one and that they bore three gifts – gold, frankincense and myrrh. What are the chances though that dignitaries such as they would travel across the desert with fabulous wealth, by themselves with no armed guard and no retinue? What are the chances that three men, entering a city, would be ushered in to the presence of the king? More than likely they came up over the horizon as a large regal procession. The tower guard, seeing this, called for the captain of the guard who in turn immediately informed the commander of the garrison. Soon word made it’s way to the highest level of the court and the king prepared himself to meet these impressive visitors. What actually happened is unknown to us, but again, it is doubtful that it was three lone men traveling across the desert on camels.

3. FALSE

Luke 2:8-16; Matt. 2:11

The shepherds came upon Jesus as a newborn, in the manger, wrapped in swaddling cloths. The Magi came later to Jesus’ house and found him as a young boy living in a house.

4. FALSE

Matt. 2:9-11

The Magi first went to Jerusalem, not being lead by the star but rather as a result of the star’s appearance in the eastern sky. After consultation with the scribes via Herod’s court the city of Bethlehem was isolated. It was only after Scriptures were consulted and they continued on their way, south, to Bethlehem that the star began giving them specific help. They were only able to find the specific house Jesus was in by following the star which went on before them and directed them ultimately to the house where Joseph, Mary and Jesus were living. Thus it was by an indirect route and they needed other aides, such as Herod, the scribes and the Word of God to find Jesus.

5. FALSE

Is. 53:1-3; Duet. 22:5; Matt. 13:54-56; I Cor. 6:9; 11-14

The Bible clearly says that Jesus was not of striking appearance and would not stand out in a crowd. (Isaiah 53:1 – 3) His appearance was certainly not of the nature that would strike awe into people. People tended to be impacted by what Jesus had to say. His appearance did not seem to exert any influence upon them in terms of belief in His teachings or acceptance of Him as a great man or teacher. (Matthew 13:34 – 36) The prohibition of God the Holy Spirit in Deuteronomy 22:5 of dressing like a woman, the prohibition of men wearing long hair in I Corinthians 11:14 and the prohibition in I Corinthians 6:9 of being effeminate in appearance or manner, would deny Jesus the long flowing hair and effeminate dress and demure, as is so often attributed to Him in paintings. The actions of God the Son will always conform with both God the Father and God the Holy Spirit and it is unthinkable to assume that He would ever be in conflict with the standards put forth by God the Father and God the Holy Spirit in the Word of God. Classic sculptures of the time, which have remained intact to this day, depict men of that period and locale as clean shaven with short closely cropped hair. As a carpenter’s son, Jesus was certainly not the wan, skinny figure depicted in Renaissance paintings. Rather this depiction of Christ reflects the decadence of the aristocracy of the Renaissance period, rather than historical and Scriptural accuracy. Who knows how our continued insistence to depict God in pictures and sculptures, despite the Biblical injunctions to the contrary (Exodus 20:4 & 5), will confuse and muddle the truth of Christ in future generations? Certainly it has already been a great distraction and stumbling block in the modern mission movements as these depictions create a false impression in the minds of Africans, Asians and Middle-Eastern cultures that Christianity is a Western Religion. It is not the Word of God that creates this impression but rather the misplaced zeal of western artists.

Well, how did you do? I hope your time in the Word has given you a new understanding of the birth story of Christ. From now on when you look at a nativity scene, remember what the Bible actually teaches… I think I’ll do that right now!

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