Monday, December 22, 2008

Not on the First Christmas

Many people’s impression of the first Christmas, when Jesus was born, is not from the Bible. People get what they believe happened at Christ’s birth from television shows, movies, artists’ renderings, or an inaccurate story told to them. Much of what they see or are taught is not according to the Scriptures. So what do the Scriptures say?

The wise men were not there when Jesus was born. According to Luke 2, the shepherds were there. After Christ’s birth, more of His young life is revealed in Matthew 2. There it mentions that the babe was in the “house” (Matthew 2:11) when the wise men arrived, not in the manger.

It is possible that Jesus was up to two years old at the time the wisemen arrived. Herod, the king, heard that the “King of the Jews” was born, and to eliminate someone that could usurp his position on the throne, he had all the children two years old and younger killed. If Jesus had just been born, Herod would not have picked that age range to assure Jesus would be killed.

Also, to get the scene biblically correct, the Bible never mentions that there were three wise men. They did bring three different kinds of gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The Bible never mentions that there were exactly three packages as many pictures portray. There could have been a multitude of packages of the three different kinds of gifts. The cash value of these items may have provided the finances Joseph and his family needed to escape the genocide of all the children Herod sought to murder. Thus, the wisemen may have paid the way to keep the young Saviour from being killed.

There was no special star shining at His birth. According to the Matthew account, the guiding star was used to lead the wise men to where Jesus was; so since they came when He was in His house, there was no star at Christ’s birth.

Although Christ’s birth is celebrated on the 25th of December, it probably did not occur then. His birth was most likely at the end of September. At Christ’s birth, the shepherds were “abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock.” Since the winters today are much like they were 2,000 years ago, it was too cold for grass to grow. The flocks usually grazed in the fields from April to October.

Also, Joseph and Mary went to pay their taxes (not partaking in a “census” or “registering” as many of the modern Bible perversions retell it). The taxes were probably collected at the end of the harvest, not when the average temperature was too cold to travel (average temperature was about 29 degrees in December). The tax turnout would not be full if it were too cold to travel.

A Christmas tree was not part of His birth. Nowhere in the birth of Christ is a Christmas tree indicated. The only decorated tree mentioned in the Word of God is found in Jeremiah 10:3-4, and it was part of a heathen custom.

The birth of the Saviour, over 2,000 years ago, was the most important birth of all time. That birth brought into this world God’s only son; who over 33 years later would die on a cross to pay for the sins of all that accepted His payment. Although the ideas of many concerning Christmas may be unbiblical, it is wonderful that many still stop their busy lives to remember His birth, at least once a year. Misconceptions of any Bible information should teach us that the only way we will ever know the truth is to read God’s Word for ourselves, and not to rely on other sources that may not be accurate.

An article written by Bill Brinkworth found in The Bible View published 12/18/08.

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