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Christmas vs. the Bible

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An objective look shows that many traditions supposedly rooted in the Bible don’t match the biblical account.

Did three wise men travel to see Jesus? The Bible doesn’t say how many there were. There could have been more. We are told only that they gave Jesus three kinds of gifts: “gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:1-11 Matthew 2:1-11 1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5 And they said to him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6 And you Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, are not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of you shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. 7 Then Herod, when he had privately called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when you have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. 9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, see, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented to him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.
American King James Version×
). Did everyone exchange gifts when Christ was born? Gifts were presented to Jesus because He was born “King of the Jews” (Matthew 2:2 Matthew 2:2Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
American King James Version×
, Matthew 2:11 Matthew 2:11And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented to him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.
American King James Version×
). This was the expected custom when appearing before a king, thus the wise men brought gifts fit for a king: gold and valuable spices. Jesus alone was the recipient of the gifts; others did not exchange gifts among themselves.

Did the wise men, as nativity scenes often depict, arrive to find Jesus in a stable manger, there having been “no room in the inn”? (Luke 2:7 Luke 2:7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
American King James Version×
). No. When the wise men arrived, apparently some time after Christ’s birth, Joseph’s family was residing in a house (Matthew 2:11 Matthew 2:11And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented to him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.
American King James Version×
).

Did the writers of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) consider Jesus’ birth to be one of the most significant events for Christians to acknowledge or celebrate? Mark and John do not even mention the event. Although Matthew and Luke do, neither gives the date. None of the biblical writers says anything about commemorating Christ’s birth.

Did Jesus Christ tell us to celebrate His birth? No. He left explicit instructions regarding how His followers are to commemorate His death (1 Corinthians 11:23-26 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till he come.
American King James Version×
), but nothing about His birth.

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