Even Christians get traditional…

27 Dec

I just thought I would talk about something this morning that my husband and I reviewed this year and explained to our kids when studying the Christmas story.

Picture the manger scene.

Mary & Joseph, Baby Jesus, the stable, the animals, the shepherds, the 3 wisemen with gifts.

But is that the real picture painted in the Bible?

Luke 2:6-18 says this

6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,     and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

 

No Wisemen?  No animals?

Hmmm….

Let’s look at Matthew 2:1-12

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,     are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler     who will shepherd my people Israel.’[b]

7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

 

By taking note of the things I put in bold face, we see a totally different reality about the Magi (Wisemen).  THey came from a LONG way away.  They definitely didn’t make it to the stable to worship.  They were looking for a child, and found him in a house. We also don’t know if there were only 3 or if there were 10 or 45.

Tradition has us assume there were three because they brought three types of gifts.  And tradition has us assume that they went to worship immediately like the Shepherds did.  But they didn’t.

We as Christians need to be very careful just following tradition.

Maybe as you pack up your Christmas items this year, you can review the true story of the Wisemen and talk to your children about it before they create a false belief about them.

As for the animals, I don’t think it hurts the story to assume there were animals there.  But maybe the stable was empty because there weren’t any animals in it?  The Bible doesn’t speak of any animals.

Practical Application:

Just a reminder that we need to open our Bible’s and read for ourselves.  Tradition isn’t always accurate.

 

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