Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Misconceptions

OK, so I would just like to list a few fun Christmas misconceptions. Basically everyone believes that these are true of the birth of Christ, but they're not.

  • The wise men did not arrive the same day as the shepherds. In fact, they arrived around a year later, when Jesus was most likely living in a house, not a stable. Most nativity scenes feature the wise men and the shepherds both at the stable, but that's not how it happened. It took the wise men a long time to travel from where they were located. The way nativity scenes do it is nice, but the gospel's account is much more historically probable and sober. As a result, when I set up nativity scenes, I place the wise men a long way away from the stable. One year I put a pile of toys in between them and the stable so I could justify them taking a year to make the journey.
  • The stable, by the way, could also have been a cave cut out of rock, not an actual building.
  • The angels did not sing to the shepherds! I'm entirely serious - go check it out for yourself. There is zero evidence to back up the idea that the angels sang. On the other hand, Jesus did sing, with all of His disciples (Matthew 26:30)!
  • No one actually knows the date of Jesus' birth. Some scholars think that April would be far more likely than December!
  • Jesus, Mary, and Joseph's skin would not be nearly as pale as most nativity scenes have it (near white in many cases). They were of Middle Eastern origin, which would mean they would have darker, olive-colored skin. Joseph, by the way, was a carpenter, which means that none of them would be wearing the gaudy ornamental robes that are usually depicted in nativity scenes. Oh, and being a carpenter, Joseph would have some serious muscles - as would Jesus after helping His father for years.
Anyway, biblically accurate nativity scenes don't sell! Merry Christmas, everyone!

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