the weblog of Alan Knox

We care about Scripture… except at Christmas

Posted by on Dec 16, 2011 in scripture | 5 comments

We care about Scripture… except at Christmas

Okay, so before you begin reading, you should know something. I’m not opposed to celebrating Christmas. Really, I’m not. I enjoy the tree and decorations; I enjoy giving presents wrapped in colorful paper; I enjoy the songs and carols and stories; I enjoy getting presents wrapped in anything.

But, I was recently talking with my children… yes, for some reason, they’re as sarcastic and skeptical as I am. Anyway, we were talking about Christmas. One of them… I don’t remember which one… said something about the story of Jesus’ birth in Scripture. Later, at work, we had a similar discussion.

So, why do we care so much about Scripture – dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s (or would that be iota’s and tau’s – jots and tittles) – except at Christmas? Here are a few examples:

When (in relation to Jesus’ birth) did Mary speak/sing “The Magnificat” (from Luke 1:46-55)?

How many animals are mentioned in the stories of Jesus’ birth at Christmas? How many animals are in your favorite nativity set or Christmas pageant?

Where was Jesus born according to Scripture? A stall? A barn? A cave? (The word often translated “inn” in Luke 2:7 is also used in Luke 22:11.)

Did the angels sing to the shepherds? (Luke 2:13) (Luke likes the word that used there: Luke 2:20, Luke 19:37, Luke 24:53, Acts 2:47, Acts 3:8, Acts 3:9.)

When did the star/magi (3 Wise Men?) appear in the story? Where did the magi find Jesus? (Matthew 2:11)

Was Jesus born on December 24/25 at night? Did he cry? When exactly did the Little Drummer Boy (my favorite Christmas character/song) appear?

Can you think of other aspects of the typical Christmas story that are not found in Scripture?

Now, it’s not wrong to include these things in our Christmas pageants and songs. But, we should recognize the difference between nice stories/traditions, and Scripture. From talking with many people, most don’t know the difference when it comes to the story of Jesus’ birth.

I wonder if this reflects people’s general knowledge and understanding of Scripture…


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  1. 12-16-2011

    I think a great deal of what goes on in churches reflects people’s general knowledge and understanding of Scripture.

  2. 12-16-2011

    Anything involving an angelic choir. I’m still looking for where the word for “host” refers to something besides an army. all unfortunate since a few of my favorite carols contain the word “sing” in reference to angels.

  3. 12-17-2011


    I think you’re right.


    Are you talking about children dressed in white robes with gold circles above their heads? Are you saying there’s nothing like that in the scriptural stories of Christ’s birth? ;)


  4. 12-18-2011

    Ha! This post made me laugh. We are not Christmas terrorists…let me say that first; we have, however, as an immediate family stopped engaging in it. We celebrate Christ’s birth at the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths.

    It’s funny the other day we were doing a family devotion and most of the December ones are on Christmas of course. In a recent one the kid in the story asked why we give gifts at Christmas. The mom responded because the wise men set the example of giving gifts to Jesus. The kid then (very wisely in my opinion) asked his mom then why don’t we just give gifts to Jesus at Christmas too? If the devotion would have ended here it would have been perfect. But alas, the mom said we buy presents for one another to show the love of Christ. I think Christ asked us to give to the least of these.

    And my other LOL moment regarding the season was last night we unfortunately had to run out for hamburger buns…we do avoid weekend shopping at all costs this time of year, however, we missed the buns. Well my husband was at a 4 way stop and it was his turn to go, but somebody in a huge rush went ahead of him and then gave him the bird just for good measure. My husband was about to rant…and I just laid a hand on his arm and reminded him “tis the season”…..we both had a good laugh, because unfortunately this time of year brings lots of birds in fingers, almost running down pedestrians and car horns honking.

    I hope some of us kind find a way to infuse blessing into this season amidst all the chaos.

  5. 12-19-2011


    It is funny to think about what Christians fight about when it comes to Christmas. I wonder how many who say they want to keep the “Christ” in Christmas also want to keep the “Mass” in Christmas…