The Pope and the Nativity

Thursday, December 20, 2012 (All day)

The Pope agrees that the nativity scene is tradition. So?

Media Download Options [ Download Media: right-click on link ]
MP4 Video
MP3 Audio -


[Steve Myers] Well, here at the Christmas season once again. It's a time that so many are involved in the traditions of their family, of their church, and so many other things. And yet, I wonder if we ever take the time to really examine why we do the things that we do. Christmas maybe should be one of those times for everyone to really examine, "Am I doing the things that really bring honor to God?"

[Darris McNeely] What's really amazing Steve is that every year people bring up the fact that the Christmas traditions are not in the Bible. They're not historically accurate and really don't fit the narrative from the gospel accounts about the birth of Jesus Christ, but we find that people just don't care. Do you care? You should. It's interesting to note as we've been covering on this series on Beyond Today, these dailies, is that even Pope Benedict XVI is writing books, a book that is talking about the narrative of the birth of Christ, pointing out some of the historical and traditional fallacies that are there, and yet justifies the observance of Christ's birthday on December 25th again based on tradition according to church traditions.

[Steve Myers] And the interesting thing is, there's a big deal going on right now throughout the country about nativity scenes. You know, is this good, is this bad, should it be allowed, or not? And so many times people don't even realize that whole image is false. The nativity scene that's out there is not the reality of what the Bible teaches. And in fact, in the Pope's book, he even says as much. Here's what the Pope writes, he says, "In the Gospel, there's no references to animals," at the nativity is what he's saying. There are none, but yet our standard nativity scenes that people set up, even those in the public, always show animals around. He goes on to explain how that came about to be the tradition. He says, "Christian iconography adopted this motif." It means the imagery of early Christianity. He said it adopted this motif, "At an early stage. No representation of the crib is complete without the ox and the ass." And so he says himself that this was not reality when it comes to the Bible, but somewhere along the line people added it.

[Darris McNeely] And that becomes the point of contention in our modern world when these scenes are put out in public places, and people want to have that removed not understanding that the entire scenario is flawed and skewed.

[Steve Myers] And so I think that should cause us to step back - even in a simple thing like this as though it seems, "Well, what's the difference?" Well, what about worshipping God and taking that to that level? Is this something that honors God? Or am I doing things that really I think honor God, and yet in reality like the nativity scene, it's not in the Bible? I think that's what we've got to step back and ask ourselves. Is what I'm doing really bringing honor to God?

[Darris McNeely] Once again we come back to the Scripture in John:4:23 where Jesus said that those who worship the Father will do so in spirit and in truth. True worship of God cannot take place unless it is according to the truth of the Scriptures, of the Holy Word of God. The coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh, as God in the flesh, fulfilling all of those prophecies is an important point of the Bible to understand and to aid us really in our worship, not only of Jesus Christ, but of the Father. And getting it right is so important. That's why it's important for you to ask yourself if someone like the Pope, or some other figure, or anyone points out to you these fallacies, then take it seriously and ask what else are we not understanding and what must we understand to be worshipping God in spirit and in truth.

[Steve Myers] That's BT Daily . We'll see you next time.


janncooley's picture

This is my first Christmas with the United Church of God. Sometimes when I drive down the streets many thoughts of man's Christmas traditions go through my mind. However it only takes a minute for me to remember that this is not reality...thank you for including another message about Christmas traditions on BT.


robertearlcurry's picture

Just recently we learned through The Good News magazene that when Luke 2:7 says "there was no room for them in the inn," the Greek word for "inn" is KATALUMA meaning "guest room," not the Greek word "PANDOKHEION" which means "inn" as in the story of the Good Samaritan. Joseph and Mary had not foolishly traveled with no plan for where to stay. They had come to Bethlehem for the fall Feast Days to stay with family and relatives. Jesus was not born in a barn because the Motel 6 was full! The homes then had a room inside (manger) for the animals (I Sam. 28:24) that Jesus was born in because the guest room was taken.

Login/Register to post comments
© 1995-2015 United Church of God, an International Association | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use

Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. All correspondence and questions should be sent to Send inquiries regarding the operation of this Web site to

You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.