Some of our beloved Christmas songs take our eyes off Jesus, but even some of the sacred ones are not exactly scriptural in their content. To understand what happened on that first Christmas, we need to go back to the book.
“We Three Kings.” Are we sure it was just three?
“Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone, snow on snow had fallen, snow on snow on snow.” Did it snow in that area? And are we even sure it was wintertime?
“I play my drum for him, ba rum, bum, bum, bum.” No comment.
You may not be aware, but we get a lot of the Christmas accounts incorrect in our modern-day depictions of Jesus’ birth. Here are 15 things you may or may not know about Jesus’ birth.
- The first men to get word of his arrival shows how Jesus changed everything. These shepherds could not be part of religious life since they were ceremonially unclean, which is exactly who Jesus sought to encounter first. These hard-working outdoorsmen learned how to worship in the presence of their King.
- These shepherds were keeping their flock by night – which might indicate that Jesus was not born in the winter.
- Of the 4 gospels, only 2 focus on Jesus’ birth – Matthew and Luke.
- Matthew was writing to a Jewish audience, so he included many Old Testament references concerning the Messiah’s birth that confirmed that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah.
- In his genealogy, he not only points to Abraham (father of Israel) and David (king of Israel), but he shockingly includes five women (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary – all of who had intriguing stories about how they made it into Jesus’ family line). It shows that if God could work through this family, he can work through yours!
- Matthew also shows a disgraced Joseph (who thought his lady had betrayed and humiliated him) who decided to grace his betrothed, Mary.
- Joseph and Mary are depicted as godly, obedient servants of God.
- Matthew also includes the story of the Magi. These men were astrologers who God got their attention to follow another light.
- The Bible never says how many wise men there were; it just says there were three gifts. There could have been two wise men or 100. We simply do not know.
- And, they do not belong in your nativity set at Christmas time. Read the account, and you will see they probably got to Jesus when he was around two years old.
- Luke most likely interviewed Mary for some of the facts and sayings he uses.
- His account reveals Mary’s cousin Elizabeth who has a leaping bundle of joy herself. She carried John the Baptist, who was already gleefully turning flips in his mother’s belly at the Messiah’s coming.
- Mary is seen as a sincere worshiper, humbly accepting the responsibility of birthing the Messiah while willing to lose her reputation.
- The census that takes place is not by accident. God orchestrates it to get Joseph to a tiny town called Bethlehem so that Micah 5:2 can be fulfilled.
- Probably born in a cave and placed in a stone troth to feed animals, Jesus was born in worse circumstances than most of us.
Jesus’ incarnation and arrival were so unorthodox. And the world has never, ever been the same.
The biblical account of Jesus’ birth is far better than our sings could every convey or reimagine.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.