List: Fables Concerning the Nativity of Jesus
Throughout December, homes all across the world have figurines and pictures of what they think should be the most lauded event of the year.
However, much of the glory and drama that has become part of the nativity scene did not really happen according to the Bible. It is myth and fables (2 Tim 4:4).
Use opportunities with family and friends this year to direct them from the fabled glory of the cradle to the glorious truth of the cross.
“God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” – Galatians 6:14
- Christ was not born in 0 BC/AD
There was no year 0. Even so, because of the way we received our modern calendar Jesus’ birth is more accurately dated to be 3-4 BC.
- Christ was not born on December 25th
It is easily researched from the Bible that the date of December 25th is not the birth date of Jesus. More likely, Jesus would be born in the fall as the Bible says was the time when the shepherds would let their flock into the fields to feed. This also aligns with the Bible chronology of the pregnancies of Elizabeth and Mary.
- Mary did not ride into Bethlehem on a donkey
Pictures of the nativity show Mary riding a donkey while Joseph leads them. This is speculation as there is no mention of how they traveled in the Biblical accounts.
- Mary did not give birth the same night she arrived
Luke 2:6 indicates that she gave birth “while they were there”. The idea that they rode into town and she gave birth that night was a fictional addition, no doubt for dramatic effect.
- Joseph never talked to the innkeeper
In most explanations of the birth night Joseph went from hotel to motel asking the innkeepers for a room. However, in the Bible there is no innkeeper character or recorded dialogue.
- There was no stable
The Bible says that Jesus was laid in a manger and never mentions a stable. The modern depiction of the woodshed stable is fabricated. Joseph and Mary were in the town of Bethlehem and historians have discovered that mangers were inside additions to houses much like modern houses would have a back porch or garage.
- There was no halo around his head
The halos often seen in nativity scenes are remnants from historical paintings. These sun discs are never described as being a part of Jesus’ birth which is described as an otherwise normal birth.
- There was no drummer boy
Another fictional addition created by carols.
- The angels did not sing
Luke 2:13-14 indicates that the host of heaven said “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men”. A “hallelujah” chorus is never mentioned. The chorus of Handel’s Messiah quotes from the book of Revelation not the nativity accounts of Matthew and Luke. The idea that angels sang comes from speculative carols written just in the past few centuries.
- Peace on earth did not come at the birth of Jesus
A look at Mat 2:16 should be evidence enough that peace had not come as Herod waged war on innocent babies in order to prevent the baby from becoming king. Jesus said later in his ministry, “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division…” Luke 12:51.
- There was no snow in the field
If there were then the shepherds would not have let their sheep graze in the field (Luke 2:8)
- It was not a silent night
Contrary to the imagery of shepherd’s quietly kneeling and the songs that say all was calm the night of his birth, it was rather the contrary. There was a small uproar because of the shepherds (Luke 2:17-18). It was anything but a silent night. Also, there is no reason to think Jesus didn’t cry.
- Three kings did not visit Jesus
This idea came from the song “We three kings”. However, the Bible does not say that kings visited Jesus. “Wise men” did.
- There were not three wise men
Speaking of the wise men there were three gifts listed in the Bible, but there is no indication of how many men (Mat 2:11).
- The wise men did not see the baby Jesus
Mat 2:11 gives us a clue that the wise men arrived at a house to see the “young child” Jesus. Mat 2:16 hints that up to two years could have passed.
- The star was not astrological
That it took months or years for the wise men to find Jesus’ house indicates that the star that guided them could not have been astrological. Mat 2:9 says the star “went” and “stood”. These are strange descriptions if the star were in the heavens. Also, the star disappears and reappears. Most likely it was an angel that guided them as angels are also referred to as stars in the Bible (Rev 1:20).
- Mary and Joseph were not alone
Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem because it was the town for those of the house of David to be taxed. No doubt, there were other people (family and friends) that were there also for the taxation. There would be no reason for them to be alone. The fact there was no room in the “inn” did not mean they were turned out into the cold, but means that all of the living rooms of the house were occupied with people, perhaps people they knew.
- Jesus’ birth was not miraculous
The birth of Jesus was probably very mechanically ordinary. It was the virgin conception that was miraculous.
- The birth of Jesus is not the gospel
The birth of Jesus is found in two of the four books of the Bible that people casually call the “Gospels”. However, it is not the gospel of Christ which is the power of God unto salvation. This gospel is found in the writings of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 and excludes the birth of Christ.
- The birth of Christ was not the most important event in history
Actually it wasn’t. If Jesus were just born we would all still be in our sins. It was his death and resurrection that is the gospel which has the power of God to save. There is no power to save in the cradle.
- Jesus did not tell us to celebrate his birthday
The Bible does not instruct us to celebrate the birth of Jesus. The disciples did not celebrate his birth. Paul even forbids that we glory save in the cross (Gal 6:14). However, the Bible does tell us to glory in his death and resurrection. The Bible does tell us to do this, and Christians have been doing it for centuries (Gal 6:14).
- Christ was not begotten in the manger
The most misunderstood part of the nativity is that Jesus was not begotten in the manger. Actually, Acts 13:33 and Psalm 2:7 indicate that Christ was begotten at his resurrection. Jesus was born and died, but it was the resurrection that was the event that no other man could perform. Many men have died for others, but Jesus was the only begotten Son who died for us. The first and only man to rise from the dead of his own account to die no more.
- Celebrating his birth is not how we should glorify God
Paul says God forbid that we glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Gal 6:14). Emphasizing his birth hides the glory of the cross and misdirects attention to an event under the law that does not have the power to save anyone, but rather could cause confusion as Matthew-John are old testament in their doctrine, and the day is surrounded by fables and Roman Catholic traditions.
More important than Mary birthing a baby boy was the fact that God was manifest in the flesh, without which his death on the cross could not pay for our sins:
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” – John 1:14
There is no manger, no baby crying, no swaddling clothes, or lullabies in John 1:14. There is only the God of the universe putting on a cloak of humanity to die for our sins and then to resurrect for our justification (Romans 4:25).
Glorying in the cross according to the mystery of Christ is the most important means of giving peace to men on Earth today (Rom 5:1).
While so many focus on the baby cradle of Jesus, use these Bible facts to help direct people to the gospel preaching of the cross this year.