At this time of the year, more will be said about the birth of Jesus than at any other time of the year. Yet, each year I can’t help but be a bit disturbed by all the biblical ignorance and inaccuracies associated with the birth of our Savior. When it comes to one of the most fundamental tenants of Christianity, the incarnation of Jesus, and one of the most pivotal historical events that ever occurred, I find that many cannot discern between fact and faction. As fundamental as the birth of Jesus is, people do not really know the account of his birth as well as one might think.
Doubt me? Then give the following “True/False” quiz a shot and see how well you do?
-True or False The angel Gabriel appeared to Joseph to inform him that Mary was with child.
-True or False The Bible says that three wise men came to to the manger to worship and give gifts to Jesus.
-True or False The Bible says that an unknown number of wise men came to the manger to worship Jesus.
-True or False The wise men were kings from the Orient.
-True or False A bright star appeared in the sky and led the shepherds to the manger.
-True or False A bright star appeared in the sky and led the wise men to the manger.
-True or False The shepherds and the wise men were present on the night of Jesus’ birth.
-True or False The translation of the word, “Immanuel” is “Savior.”
-True or False Jesus was born in Jerusalem.
-True or False An innkeeper told Mary and Joseph that there was no room in the inn, thus Jesus was born in a manger.
Okay, so how did you do? Did anyone get them all right? Did you get a passing grade? Well, if you answered any of the questions with a “True,” you were mistaken. Every statement is false for one reason or another. Open your Bible and check it for yourself.
What I have discovered through the years is that it is surprisingly easy for us to believe as fact, what is in reality, fiction. Furthermore, this “fiction” is sometimes propagated by religion. How many church lawns and “Christmas” re-enactments will portray a nativity scene which inaccurately portrays the biblical account?
But now here’s my point: If we can be misinformed about something as fundamental as the birth of Jesus, what’s to make us think we cannot be misled regarding other religious matters?
Friends, make sure your faith is not based on what others have told you is true, but rather make sure your faith is based on what you know to be true from your own personal study. Let the “fiction” you see perpetuated on church lawns and in church pageants this holiday season be a reminder and a warning to you to do your own Bible study, and to never be content with what others say.
“Prove all things; Hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).