Last year, I wrote a post called “We care about Scripture… except at Christmas.” You know that many, many of the things we sing about or talk about regarding the “first Christmas” are not actually in Scripture. You know that, right? Well, read the story again in Matthew 1 and Luke 1-2. Did you notice how many things are missing? I mean, how could anyone create a good nativity scene with those stories?
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…