With Christmas just around the corner, I thought it would be interesting to make a quiz about some commonly-held assumptions related to Jesus’ birth–and then also have some fun related to a secular Christmas song or two. You can find the answers, with explanations, in the second part of this post.
- Jesus was born in a stable.
- There were three Wise Men (Magi) who visited Jesus and his parents.
- The shepherds and the Wise Men didn’t visit Jesus and his parents at the same time.
- At the time the Wise Men visited Jesus, He was living in a house.
- Jesus was born in the year A.D. 1.
- Jesus was probably born in the winter.
- Jesus was born to a woman who had never had sexual relations.
- Joseph married Mary before Jesus was born.
- Santa Claus traces his origin to a monk who was born in the 3rd century.
- The total 2020 cost of the items in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is greater than the poverty threshold for a family of four in the U.S.
- False. In spite of what you have seen in nativity scenes, the Bible does not say that Jesus was born in a stable or a barn. He was probably born in a cave; in the second century, Justin Martyr said that Jesus had been born in a cave outside Bethlehem.
- False. It is commonly assumed that there were three Magi because they brought three gifts: gold, incense, and myrrh. Perhaps you are also familiar with the Christmas song “We Three Kings.” However, the Bible does not tell us how many Magi there were.
- True. Luke tells us in Chapter 2:8 that there were shepherds “nearby.” In verse 16 Luke writes that the shepherds “hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.” Regarding the Magi, on the other hand, Matthew tells us in Chapter 2:16, “When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.” This strongly suggests that by the time the Wise Men, who “saw his star in the east” (verse 2), came to Bethlehem, Jesus was probably at least a year old.
- True. Matthew 2:11 tells us, “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.”
- False. We don’t know exactly when Jesus was born, but B.C. 4 seems to be the most likely year.
- False. Since there were shepherds in the fields with their sheep, it’s very unlikely that Jesus’ birth would have happened during the winter. In addition, Luke 2:1-2 tells us that a census was being taken of the entire Roman world; the winter would not have been a good time to make people go “to his own town to register.” (Luke 2:3) It seems most likely Jesus was born in early fall; this is because of the comparative times of the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus.
- True. Jesus was born to the virgin Mary. Luke 1:34 tells us that when the angel Gabriel told Mary she would give birth to a son, Mary replied, “‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?'” Gabriel replies in the next verse, “‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you.'” Matthew 1:18 confirms, “Before they [Joseph and Mary] came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.” Also, Matthew 1:25 tells us that Joseph “had no union with her [Mary] until she gave birth to a son.” On a personal note, my father-in-law for more than 90 years was not a Christian; he said he could not believe the miracles in the Bible, and he referred specifically to the miracle of Jesus being born to a virgin. Thankfully, at the age of 91, he accepted Jesus as his Savior.
- True. The Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream after Mary became pregnant. Matthew 1:24 says, “When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.” Also, others have noted that it would have been unlikely for Joseph to take his fiancee with him on a 90-mile journey to register for the census. There is not unanimity on this matter because of the customary year-long betrothal at that time in Jewish society, but it seems very likely that Joseph and Mary were married and living (and traveling!) together before Jesus was born.
- True. One of the many names of Santa Claus is St. Nicholas, a monk who was born in 280 A.D. in what is now Turkey.
- False. The total cost now for the items in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is a mere $16,168.14, compared with the poverty threshold for a U.S. family of four, which is $26,200. Last year, the cost was a whopping $38,993. What’s the reason for the huge drop in cost? You guessed it: COVID-19, which renders the last four items (nine ladies dancing, ten lords a-leaping, eleven pipers piping, and twelve drummers drumming) NA. The most expensive item, by far, is the seven swans a-swimming, which would set you back $13,125! For some humorous commentary on this, click here: https://www.radio.com/y98/news/heres-what-it-will-cost-to-buy-the-12-days-of-christmas
Have a very merry Christmas!!