Myth 1 The donkey and the inn keeper
What nativity play would be complete without these but the Bible never mentions them.
Myth 2 We Three Kings of Orient … weren’t
No nativity scene would be complete without these three guys with their crowns and Christmas booty. They’re mentioned only in Matthew 2. They are magi (astrologers – advisors) who perhaps knew of the promised Messiah from the Jewish scriptures. But they didn’t know their Bibles well enough to know that he’d be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) not in the Jewish King’s palace in Jerusalem. Three of their gifts are mentioned but there could have been two magi carrying three gifts, or 27 magi carrying a whole truck full of gifts, but only three are mentioned! Who knows?
Myth 3 The Magi arrived at the stable with the shepherds
This is highly unlikely. According to Matt 2:11 by the time they arrived at Bethlehem Jesus was a “child” living in a “house”. Perhaps by then Joe and Mary had moved in with some of Joseph’s relatives. We all know what it’s like to have Christmas guests who stay too long!
Myth 4 The Magi followed a star that led them to Bethlehem
This isn’t what the Bible says. It says they saw his star in the east, and they came looking for him in Jerusalem. So it seems that the star told them he was born but not where. They had to find out where from the Bible (Matt 2:5f). But once they headed towards Bethlehem the star reappeared and pointed to the house where Jesus and his family now lived (Matt 2:9-11).
Myth 5 Jesus was of the DNA of Mary but not Joseph
This is a little more controversial and conjectural. Please don’t misread me. I’m not suggesting Joseph was Jesus’ biological dad. The Bible makes it clear this was miraculous virginal conception (Matt 1:20-25) without sexual intercourse. What I am saying is that I find nothing in the Bible to suggest or demand that Mary contributed anything but nourishment to the babe in her womb. It just seems to be a popular assumption that Mary did contribute biologically to the incarnate body of Jesus. Please let me know if you can find anything in the Bible that says definitely she did.
Myths Busted – Why’s it matter?
Truth matters to Christians. Jesus came full of grace and truth (John 1:14). If we are to know God as he really is then we need to know Jesus as he really is, not just a collection of myths or assumptions (John 14:6). And the truth about Jesus is so much bigger and better than the myths. The Creator has become one with His creatures to save us yet without diluting any of his Godness or goodness. He became one of us not just temporarily but he is now eternally human (Acts 17:31). That’s the depth of God’s love and commitment to restoring our relationship with him. The truth is not only stranger than fiction, but far far bigger and better. Why not take an hour or two these holidays just to re-read a Gospel by yourself and ask God to refresh your vision of the real Jesus and your walk with Him. May God bless you deeply this Christmas.