Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year, because it calls our attention to one of the most beautiful teachings of Scripture—the Incarnation of Christ. When you realize the incredible truths behind the reality that God came and dwelt among us, it can’t help but impact the way you live. Plus, it’s an awesome reminder that God kept his promises from the Old Testament to send a Messiah to rescue his people from their sins. However, since that time, many myths have been added to the greatest story ever told. Here are nine common myths Christians believe at Christmas:
First, the Bible says that Jesus was born On December 25. It’s the age-old question, “Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday?” The answer is that we really don’t know when his actual birthday was. The Bible doesn’t tell us an exact date. So, it begs the question, “How did Christmas land on December 25th?” Some historians believe that it was a Christian reaction to a Roman pagan holiday, while others believe the date is a response to the traditional date of Jesus’ crucifixion in March. Honestly, we don’t really know when Jesus was born, however, two things are certain—Jesus was born of a virgin, and the Bible doesn’t give us an exact date.
Second, the Bible says Mary rode into Bethlehem on a donkey. An extremely pregnant Mary riding into town on a donkey is definitely a common myth most Christians believe is in the Bible. Now, she very well could have made the 65-mile trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem on a donkey. Nevertheless, the account of this story in Luke 2:1–6 does not specifically teach this. We all should consider how tough Mary was to make this trip while being pregnant, because most of us men can’t get out of bed if we have the common cold.
Third, the Bible says there were three wisemen. One of the most popular Christmas carols, We Three Kings, shows the commonality of this particular myth. The Gospel of Matthew describes these men as magi or wise men. People commonly think there were three in number, because the Bible details the fact that they brought three gifts—gold, frankincense, and myrrh. But, this doesn’t mean there were three magi; there could just as easily have been four, eight, or ten. Also, one could ascertain that these guys were the very first Essential Oils dealers.
Fourth, the Bible says Jesus was born in a barn or stable. Just about every nativity set places the baby Jesus in a barn, surrounded by animals. Once again, this is an assumption because the Bible does not specify this. The Scriptures actually say, “And she gave birth… and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7). It’s easy to assume that Jesus was born in a barn or stable, because of the manger mention. A manger is a feeding trough for animals. However, these feeding troughs were also commonly used inside homes, because families would sleep upstairs while small animals were kept downstairs on cold nights.
Fifth, the Bible says Jesus was born in 0 A.D. “B.C.” stands for “before Christ”, and “A. D.” stands for a Latin phrase anno domini; which means “in the year of the Lord.” However, according to Matthew 2:1, Jesus was born during the days of Herod the king. Most historians place Herod’s death at 4 B.C. With Herod ordering all boys 2 years old and younger in the area to be killed before his own death, it seems as though a more proper estimate of Jesus birth would have sometime between 4 B.C. and 6 B.C.
Finally, saying “Happy Holidays” is “Taking Christ out of Christmas.” This statement may be an attempt at being “politically correct.” However, holiday literally means, “holy day.” Celebrating the birth of Jesus definitely makes it a holy day. Thankfully, because of the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus, everyday can be a happy holy day. To the believer, Christmas shouldn’t be a one-day celebration, but rather, a lifestyle of celebrating the truth that Jesus is Immanuel—God with us.