With Christmas in four days, I guess I should be saying something beautiful about Jesus coming to earth that day long, long ago. I should have something profound to share about it, something to make people go “whoa!” But all that comes to mind are the same old things that have been told a thousand times before, and put in much better ways than I ever could.
So I’m gonna write about something that might be looked on as an attempt to spoil our Christmas visions, but it is something I’ve been thinking about. I’m gonna discuss some Christmas myths.
Myth 1: The wise men
Who says there were only three? The Bible does not give a number of wise men. In fact, there may have been dozens of them. Nativity sets usually just have three to represent the gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Myth 2: The stable
Go ahead. Look it up. No where does it say the word “stable” or “barn”. The only thing talked about in the Bible is the manger. Where did the whole stable thing come from? Joseph and Mary might have been just under a tree or something and found an old manger lying around to put the baby in. It’s possible they were in a stable, I don’t know, but it doesn’t say so in the Bible.
Myth 3: Angels singing
I know, we like to imagine the angels singing to the baby Jesus, but I’m sorry, that’s not in the Bible either. Nor did they necessarily sing to the shepherds. Luke 2:13-14 simply says,
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Myth 4: The animals
We all imagine Mary riding into town on a donkey, but nothing of the sort takes place in the Biblical account. It’s just another elaboration of the story.
Also, with the elimination of the stable comes the elimination of the animals that are supposed to have been in the stable. They very well might have been there, but you can’t know for sure.
Myth 5: The night Mary and Joseph arrived
I always had this picture of the baby coming the night Mary and Joseph arrived, but that’s probably not the case. They could have been in town like a month before Jesus was born. And who says they arrived at night anyways?
Myth 6: Born at night?
It never says what time of day Jesus was born. Maybe it was in the morning. All we know is that it was that night when the angels appeared to the shepherds. That’s absolutely it.
IN CONCLUSION: I am not trying to spoil Christmas!!! Go ahead and shout out “Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o’er the plains” and “The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes”. Set up that stable scene on your mantle. But it is good to realize that many of our illusions of Christmas are just that…illusions.
So instead of worrying about the fact the the stable might have never existed, let’s just focus on celebrating the reality that Jesus DID come to earth, and because of that we have HOPE.