Christmas Corrections

There are a few misconceptions about the birth of Christ that we need to correct.

He probably was not born in December because the shepherds were in the fields with their flocks. It is even possible that these particular sheep were the ones for Temple sacrifice at some time in the near future. That being said, it is likely the birth of Christ was somewhere around April.

When we say that Jesus was born in a manger, that means Mary used an animal feed trough as a crib. It is likely that the specific location was a roof propped up by stilts that was used for the animals’ shelter. Or it could have been an actual cave where they took shelter.

Mary did not necessarily need to come to Bethlehem because it was the duty of the man to respond to Caesar’s order to be part of a census for the purpose of taxation. Joseph brought Mary to Bethlehem so that she would not be left behind subject to community criticism for her pregnancy.

Joseph was the stepfather of Jesus because Mary was supernaturally impregnated by the Holy Spirit for there to be a body in which Jesus would reside. In those days it was not uncommon for a man to marry a woman twice her age. Mary was probably around fourteen years old. Joseph could have even been in his 30s. This was acceptable and part of the community norm for the structure of the family in those days.

The Angels did not sing to the shepherds. The Bible does not use the word sing or song. Imagine how startling it would have been. Most of the shepherds were asleep while one stayed awake to keep guard against wolves or other animals that could harm the sheep. Suddenly an angel walked out of the darkness. It would have been magnificent and yet startling.

The phrase “peace on earth” is better translated the person of peace (Jesus) has come to earth. The phrase “goodwill to men” is better translated men of goodwill (believers anticipating the coming of the Messiah) will have their anticipation recognized.

The Angels told the shepherds they would find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes. The emphasis on that statement is not swaddling clothes because all babies were swaddled. Swaddling means the baby was wrapped in long links of cloth there was about four or 5 inches wide. In comparison to today’s treatment of newborn babes, the shepherds would have been told that the baby was wrapped in a blanket. The real emphasis was that if the shepherds went in faith, they would find. They went in obedience to the Angels and by going they found Jesus.

The wisemen did not go to the manger scene because the Bible says Jesus was about two years old when they arrived. Jesus and Mary and Joseph were living in a house by that time according to Scripture. The wisemen were likely not Kings but the equivalent of scientists or astronomers who studied ancient manuscripts and the stars. According to their understanding, when a new star appeared, it was a sign that a king had been born. They could have taken two years for them to gather their supplies and equipment to walk from what is now Iraq to Bethlehem.

There was no drummer boy at the manger scene. That is a created story for the purpose of the song to celebrate the Nativity.

Some think that the phrase immaculate conception refers to Jesus. That is not true. The doctrine of immaculate conception holds that for Jesus to be born perfect his mother needed some type of supernatural conception. The problem with this is that sin according to the old and New Testament is a strain passed through the male parent. Adam was the first to sin and figuratively speaking every human being bears the mark of what is referred to as Original Sin.

Jesus did not come to earth to be a preacher or prophet or good example or miracle worker. Even though all those things were true, we must keep in mind that that little baby in the manger was born specifically to be murdered on the cross for our sin. Jesus came that we might have our relationship with the Heavenly Father healed.

Many, many others were crucified by the Romans. Only Jesus would be crucified and then resurrected. Without the resurrection, his murder would be of little effect for us. Christmas and Easter are the two most important days in history. Jesus was born to die and then be resurrected just for us! Have you asked Jesus to forgive you of your sin? Have you asked him to come into your heart and help you live a holy life honorable to the Heavenly Father? If you have not, today would be a great day for you to become a Christian and have your life turned around.

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