The story of Christmas is literally thousands of years old. Considering that, it’s no surprise that the truth about what actually happened at this pivotal and chaotic historical event have been lost in translation over the years. As a result, very few Americans today know the real story — which is in many was even more fantastic than the myths they’ve been led to believe.
There are many long-held myths that surround the Christmas season. Many of them have been believed without question for decades. The following are just a few of these common myths many, even within the Christian faith, believe to be true:
Jesus was born on December, 25th
While Christians and even those not in the faith recognize the holiday as a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, historians do not really know when He was born. Some feel it was in the springtime, while others feel it was the summer. Almost none believe it to be the date on which it’s celebrated, December 25th. This date is believed to have been selected as a Christian alternative to a pagan holiday celebrated in Rome called Saturnalia. The celebration was likely moved to late December after the Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity. The Bible isn’t clear on the date, only that He was born of a virgin.
Mary Rode a Donkey Into Bethlehem
Another commonly held belief among believers is the fact that a very pregnant Mary, accompanied by Joseph, rode a donkey into Bethlehem. While it’s “possible” that Mary made the 65-mile trek from Nazareth to Bethlehem via donkey, it isn’t specified in the Bible. However, in Luke 2:1-6, it is made clear that Mary was pregnant, and because she goes into labor shortly after arriving in Bethlehem, one could assume she was pretty far along in that pregnancy.
There Were Only Three Wisemen
“We Three Kings,” a popular Christmas carol, along with many other sources seem to indicate that there were only three kings, wise men or magi who came to see Jesus and present Him with gifts of myrrh, frankincense and gold. However, again, the Bible isn’t specific. It simply states magi, or wise men, meaning there would have been four, eight, ten…really any number. In fact, according to many historians, wise men, or magi, typically traveled in much larger groups, with servants and the like, so though their exact number is in question, there were almost certainly more than a mere three.
Jesus Was Born in a Barn or Stable
Nativity scenes often feature a barn or stable, signifying the location where Jesus was born. Luke 2:7, though, doesn’t say anything about a barn or stable, it says, “And she gave birth ….and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” Many people assume the mention of the manger indicates Jesus was born in a barn or stable, and perhaps that is correct. However, it wasn’t uncommon for homes of that day to also have feeding troughs or mangers indoors. This was because the animals would actually be kept indoors, in the lower level, during the cold nights and the family would sleep upstairs. Therefore, Mary and Joseph might have found a kind family who took them into their home and allowed them to stay inside.
The Star Was Present At Jesus’ Birth
Another common nativity item is the presence of the star that led the wise men. However, the timing is off for this. The magi followed the star that led them first to Jerusalem (Matthew 2:1-2) and then guided them to Bethlehem (v9-10). An important clue about timing can be discovered in verse 16 that talks about King Herod having all children two-years of age and younger killed. This means some time had passed since Jesus’ birth. The magi were no longer looking for a newborn baby — because King Herod wasn’t looking for a newborn baby. Therefore, there would have been neither a star nor the wise men present the night of Jesus’ birth.
Saying Happy Holidays is Anti Christian
Let’s be very clear about this: there is a “war on Christmas”. We’ve seen examples of it this year with secular schools banning any religious expression whatsoever during holiday season. The phrase “happy holidays”, however, is not part of it. As the “War on Christmas” rages ever fiercer year after year, many Christians feel the term “Happy Holidays” to be the pagan alternative to Merry Christmas and thus consider it insulting. However, in actuality, “holiday” means “holy day.” Therefore, when someone says “Happy Holidays” they are in essence saying “Happy Holy Days.”
“Happy X-Mas” is Removing Christ
The Roman alphabet Chi, which is “Christ” in Greek is represented by the symbol – X. Therefore, when a person writes “Merry Xmas” they are literally signifying “Merry Christmas.” Consequently, believers don’t have to feel guilty for shortening the word when they need to fit it in a small space. Really, “x-mas” is just a popular shorthand that isn’t in itself harmful or disrespectful.
~ 1776 Christian