Tuesday, December 24, 2019

The Birth of Christ

As much as I love them, Christmas songs and Nativity decorations have it all wrong when it comes to the story of Jesus' birth. They have Him being born in December, under a bright star that lead the wise men right to manger. In actuality, He was most likely not born in December but during the warmer months of the year. There were shepherds in the fields tending their flocks on the night that Jesus was born. Shepherds most likely brought their flocks into corals during the coldest winter months. Another reason to believe that the birth of Jesus was not in the winter is because of the census that Caesar Augustus is recording as having taken in Luke 2: 1. Since the census required mass migration of large numbers of the population, it seems much more likely that it would have been taken during the warmer months to make it somewhat easier for the those who had to travel great distances.

Another misconception put forth in our songs and decorations has to do with the star that appeared at Jesus' birth and with the wise men that came to worship Him. Contrary to the way Nativity Decorations would present it, the wise men were not present at the manger after Jesus was born. There were shepherds present soon after the birth of Christ, but there were no wise men. The wise men came later; perhaps, even up to two years later (based upon the decree that Caesar Augustus issued to slaughter all of the male children two years old and under). Also, the Scriptures do not state that the star shown down on the stable the night that Jesus was born; it records that the star was for the purpose of leading the wise men to Jesus. The wise men began their journey when the star first appeared to them, at Jesus' birth and traveled until they found Him.

The Bible states that they were from the East; that was most likely Persia or Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq). This means that, at the very least, they had to travel 500 miles to get to Jesus (and some of us won't even travel 2 miles to church!). It has been estimated that, at the very minimum, it would have taken them about 25 days to reach Jesus; it could have taken them much longer to make the trip, depending upon their circumstances. The wise men "saw His star" (a star that not all saw, apparently, nor could all understand) and traveled to Jesus' house to pay Him honor and bring Him gifts. Matthew 2: 11 states that the wise men came "into the house and saw the Child with Mary His mother".

Also, contrary to belief, scripture does not record that there were three wise men but three gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. The gold was to acknowledge Jesus as King, the frankincense was used by Priests and signified His position as such and the myrrh was used in burial preparations and thus was to acknowledge His death on our behalf. It could be that each man brought Jesus some of each. We only know from Scripture that there were more than one man (it says men)--that could mean two or ten or even twenty!

In the end, what matters is that we love and honor God and His Word. In our enthusiasm to celebrate the birth of Jesus, let us remember that we much accept the truth of the scriptures as absolute and not set forth as truth something that the scriptures are silent on. There are many assumptions that we have to make in order to "fill in" the story of Jesus' birth; let's just be careful that we not get too confused.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/1757788

No comments: