“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (II Timothy 3:15)
Although Christmas has passed, at least for 2013, I believe we as parents have a responsibility to teach our children according to His Word. The Bible tells us if we “train up a child in the way he should go [that] when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) This is why I believe learning the truth about Advent is important. I also think that if we have these many teachings wrong about the story of Jesus’ birth, then maybe we need to delve into the scriptures to see what is actually written. For now however, let’s keep it simple.
It all started with a picture of santa. My kids got to color his hat and face, and each day going forward, they could add a cotton ball to his beard. It was all part of a countdown toward Christmas. When the beard was full, Christmas day had officially arrived. This gave me the idea of counting down to Christmas by placing stars over the nativity scene. I started thinking I could present a Bible verse for each day so that my children could understand the story about Jesus birth. It was herein that I discovered some earthly changes to a God focused story.
The biggest unexplained change for me was about the magi (AKA Wise men or three kings as some call them). These men were not present at any time when the actual birth of Jesus took place. And if you read the Bible version of events, they do not see Jesus until He was a young child. So why does every single Christmas card display the three kings right there with the shepherds overlooking baby Jesus? Even more so, why do churches act out this scene in plays when they know this to be false? But it does not stop there.
The next revision that caught my attention was the innkeeper. He doesn’t exist! In fact, there is no mention of Joseph and Mary knocking on a door at an inn or conversely, the two being refused by an innkeeper. It simply states that there was no room. Of course, this opens up a whole new set of possibilities as to why there was no room — which is all well and good — as long as the new option does not include an innkeeper that isn’t real.
The last one that really surprised me was the stable. Just like the inn, it never mentions where Mary and Joseph went. The Bible does state that the shepherds’ will find the baby wrapped in swaddling cloth and lying in a stable. A manger is a trough used to feed animals and yes, the assumption might extend to a stable but this is not a fact carved in stone.
So my question is this? Where did these concepts about Jesus’ birth come from?
Personally, I believe these (and others) came in much the same fashion as any birth story that needs a little spicing up. You know the stories where nobody found the original narrative to be interesting enough. The storyline that does not compare to the woman who screams loud enough in child birth that the whole hospital hears. Or, the woman who didn’t even make it into the hospital and the baby was delivered in the back of the car. We have all heard them. Some of them are factual but many more are not. It seems that we have this inner desire to improve our life with fiction so that it sounds better. My question is why?
The Bible tells us that the Word of God is true. (Romans 3:4) The Bible tells us that Jesus remains the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. (Hebrews 13:8) We know that His Word is everlasting.
Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24) The good news is that nothing can change that.
Unfortunately however, people today do not hold the Word up to that same standard as it used to be. Thus, we end up with a story about Jesus’ birth – the greatest story ever told –that is romanticized and inflated beyond what we know to be true. I wonder if the enemy had a part in it. I wonder if the father of darkness thought he would be able to use it to cause doubt and confusion in the hearts and minds of individuals? I mean why would so many believing Christians (who apparently read their Bible regularly) believe a story that is not based on scriptural fact?
No, the enemy didn’t win this one. And he won’t. Why? Because the point that still remains – regardless of the worldly misconceptions — is that Jesus entered this world (in the most humble of ways) so that you and I could experience salvation. He was born just like we are. And although, at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter where Jesus was born, or exactly when, or even who visited Jesus at the time. The most important part is that we remember why He came. That is, not for His glory but rather for you and I.
And finally, if I can make just one more point, doesn’t the fact that we as a people felt the need to “spice” up Jesus’ birth circumstances just further prove how humble of a beginning it really was?
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)