The First Christmas Quiz

We know all about the first Christmas, right? I mean we hear about the details in Christmas carols and programs and sermons, see them depicted on cards and church bulletins and manger scenes. But do we know the Biblical version? Here’s a fun little quiz to find out. (Feel free to print it out and pass it along if you’re interested). Answers at the bottom.

Directions: based on what the Bible says, decide if the following statements are true or false. (Hint: if the Bible is silent on the matter, it should be considered false).

1. Jesus’s birth was predicted to Joseph by an angel in a dream.

2. Mary was a virgin at the time of Jesus’s birth.

3. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph’s place of residence.

4. The innkeeper told Joseph there was no room in the inn

5. Jesus was born on a cold winter’s night.

6. The stable was a wooden structure.

7. There were kings from the east who visited Jesus after he was born.

8. There were three of these visitors.

9. These visitors followed a star from the East to Jerusalem in search of the Christ child.

10. The star which the visitors saw was an especially bright star.

11. The visitors arrived on camels.

12. Herod told the visitors to go to Bethlehem.

13. These visitors came to Jesus and saw Him in the manger where he had been placed after birth.

14. These visitors were joined by shepherds who came to worship Jesus.

15. The shepherds also saw the star which had guided the other visitors.

16. A host of angels appeared to the shepherds and sang praised to God.

17. In a dream God warned Mary that Jesus’s life was in danger.

18. Mary and Joseph took Jesus back to Nazareth to escape the danger.

19. Mary remained a virgin and never had any other children.

20. God can do the impossible, which makes belief in the Christmas miracles possible.

- – -

Answers:
1. true – though His birth was also predicted to Mary
2. true – see Matthew 1:24-25
3. false – they were from Nazareth and only went to Bethlehem because it was required by the government
4. false – the innkeeper doesn’t make an appearance in the Biblical account
5. false – the Bible doesn’t say what kind of a night it was
6. false – the Bible doesn’t describe the stable
7. false – the eastern visitors were magi or wisemen specializing in such studies as astrology
8. false – the Bible doesn’t specify how many magi there were—only that they presented three types of gifts
9. false – they saw a star in the East and went to Jerusalem where they would expect to find a king; they then followed the star from Jerusalem to Bethlehem
10. false – the Bible never refers to the star as bright
11. false – the Bible doesn’t mention camels
12. true – after learning from the scribes where Messiah was to be born, Herod told the magi
13. false – the magi came to a house.
14. false – the magi didn’t arrive the night Jesus was born; the shepherds who were already in Judea went immediately after they heard the birth announcement
15. false – the Bible doesn’t mention that the shepherds saw the star
16. false – Scripture doesn’t say these angels sang
17. false – God warned Joseph, not Mary
18. false – they went to Egypt, not Nazareth
19. false – Mary had a number of other children, among them James who wrote the book of the Bible that bears his name.
20. true – Gabriel stated this to Mary when she asked how she being a virgin could give birth to a son (Luke 1:37)

Questions? Read Matthew 1:18-2:15; Luke 1:26-38; Luke 2:1-20. Or feel free to ask them here.

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12 Comments

  1. While I certainly appreciate your efforts to dispel some of the myths that formed around Christ’s birth, I wonder why you aren’t following your own directions concerning what the Bible says and where it is silent. Where is the Scripture that authorizes an annual celebration of His birth, or shows an example of the first churches participating in such a celebration?

    There is none. Christmas feasts did not start until the fourth century, and became a regular religious observance when made a civic holiday by the Roman emperor Justinian in the 6th century. Christmas is the product of human wisdom, not divine revelation.

    Can Christians still celebrate Christmas? As a national holiday, certainly. Should Christians feel outraged when secularists/atheists protest Christmas? Most definitely, as this is simply another tactic in their war to remove God from our society and culture. But if Christians truly seek to dispel the myths and false teachings related to the Bible and the Faith then we cannot perpetuate the recognition of “Jesus as the reason for the season.”

  2. Kameron,

    You have good thoughts and I agree with most of what ye spoke, but I am thinking that as WE as Christians celebrate his birth at this time of the year especially, then He IS the reason for the season. Tis true nay?

    Thanks
    Sam

  3. Kameron, while you made some interesting points, I don’t know why you said I’m not following my own directions.

    My reason for posting the quiz was to show how many of our ideas are formed by our culture, not by the Bible, even regarding such a well-known event as Christ’s birth.

    I didn’t say anything about Christmas being a necessary or holy or required celebration.

    As many people have pointed out, much of our religious symbolism connected to Christmas was added to or changed from pagan practices. I was making no attempt to address this issue.

    Rather, I wanted to encourage visitors here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction to spend time in Scripture, to take nothing for granted because tradition says so, to check everything against God’s Word.

    Evidently I didn’t do a good job, and that point was lost. I’m sorry I wasn’t clearer.

    Becky

  4. Sam, you make a good point. If we chose to celebrate Christ’s birth in August, would focus on the Incarnation be altered?

    The fact is, centuries ago Christians selected December. No matter what the rest of the world does with the date, for believers it is tied to the events surrounding the Son of God lying in a manger.

    Becky

  5. The title of your post was what generated my comment. Christ’s birth was not the first Christmas. And my point is the same as yours, Rebecca. Too many take for granted a tradition of man–Christmas–rather than checking against God’s Word.

    Where do we get the authority to celebrate Christ’s birth as a religious event/festival/season? A look through the Bible from end to end shows that when God wants His people to practice a religious observance, He spells it out–when, where, and how. In the New Testament, I see one for the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (the weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper). I see no such stipulation regarding the birth of His Son.

    Men, Christian or otherwise, deciding to add a celebration of the Savior’s birth contradicts John’s words to “abide in the doctrine of Christ” (1 John 2; 2 John). Perpetuating that tradition as doctrine is exactly what Jesus warned against in Matthew 15:9.

  6. Kameron, I think you make an interesting point, but the birth of Christ is not a tradition of men.

    My quiz hopefully clarifies the Biblical facts and more importantly reminds us all of the need to filter through the Bible what comes to us from other sources.

    Is it unbiblical to call the birth of Christ “Christmas” or “the first Christmas”? I don’t believe so. Any number of events/portions of Scripture have been tagged with a name not found in the Bible. Take “Old Testament” for example. Or “the Lord’s Prayer.” Or “the rapture.” Are people straying from the Bible because they use these terms to connote the passage/event? No. It’s a style of communication.

    You are assuming something from my use of the word that I never intended. I don’t have a “doctrine” of celebrating Christmas.

    As it happens, our nation set aside the date as a holiday. I’ve never studied the details surrounding that historic act. I have a sense it was intended to celebrate Christ’s birth, and perhaps this was widely accepted throughout the western world at the time.

    Frankly, I think it’s a good idea. I like focusing attention on Christ. I like people thinking about the Biblical account of the Incarnation. I like the music so many artists have written and performed in celebration of Jesus’s birth.

    I do not think most Christians (and possibly not even most professing Christians) teach the day as sacred or that it’s necessary to keep it as if it is commanded in the Bible. I don’t know any who do. I suppose some who hold to works as the means of salvation might, but their error is in that idea first and foremost.

    You said:

    Where do we get the authority to celebrate Christ’s birth as a religious event/festival/season?

    What constitutes a religious event/festival/season? Does a child dedication service fall into that category? Sunday school? Vacation Bible School? Prayer meetings? Women or men’s retreats? Easter sunrise services?

    The truth is, there are lots of activities that fall in this category. Are you saying that Christians should have nothing to do with them?

    Would that we can focus on pointing others to Christ as He appears in the pages of Scripture instead of looking for cumin to tithe.

    Becky

  7. The birth of Christ is not a tradition of men, but it’s celebration is. And when churches across many denominations hold special services on Christmas Eve and Christmas, it certainly does teach that the day is sacred. And those who protest most loudly when someone tries to remove religious significance from the day sure are acting like it’s necessary to keep it as a command.

    I think when God has revealed a clear pattern regarding His will about certain practices, i.e., religious observances, it is more than just a “style of communication” when Christians choose to call out a special day of observance to an event they deem significant to their faith.

    I’d encourage you to do some research on Christmas and the history of its observance. If I recall correctly, it did not really catch on in the USA until early in the 20th Century (maybe late 19th Century, my memory is fuzzier than I thought). A Google search on “origins of Christmas” will return a plethora of articles.

    I wholeheartedly endorse focusing attention on Christ and God’s plan for our salvation, but I do not endorse methods that lack Scriptural authority.

  8. when churches across many denominations hold special services on Christmas Eve and Christmas, it certainly does teach that the day is sacred. And those who protest most loudly when someone tries to remove religious significance from the day sure are acting like it’s necessary to keep it as a command.

    Kameron, it’s paragraphs like this that make me think you have a particular position to defend, regardless of what it is I said (or say).

    Nowhere in my post did I write anything about Christmas Eve services or going to church on Christmas Day. I didn’t say anything about “Keeping Christ in Christmas” either. It seems like you are assuming I take those positions for no other reason than that I used the term “first Christmas.”

    I’ll say again: My position is that we need to read the Bible and not stray into believing cultural renditions of Scriptural events. As such I am not now, nor have I ever, advocated that keeping Christmas is an obligation Christians must fulfill.

    I think Christmas is great. Again last night I listened to songs like “Come Let Us Adore Him” on PBS. Despite the commercialism and influence of atheism, Christmas still makes it hard for people to ignore Jesus.

    I see no need to study the history of the holiday. It won’t influence what I believe. The Bible influences what I believe. I see nothing in the Bible to make me think I should not celebrate Christmas as I do, or Easter or any of the other religious observances I mentioned in my last comment.

    Personally, I feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas. It’s joyful and resplendent. It can spur people on to love and good deeds. And for Christians, it brings the Incarnation front and center.

    Becky

  9. I believe this issue is addressed in Romans:
    “In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him.” Romans 14:5-6

    So its not wrong to celebrate Christmas… many of us do it to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. And for some, they feel to do so would be moving away from the bible. But one should not condemn the other because God accepts both (read the rest of Romans 14).

  10. Great comment, Morgan. Thanks.

    Becky

  11. On what possible basis do you make the preposterous assertion ” if the Bible is silent on the matter, it should be considered false”?

  12. Ronk, you’ve quoted from the directions for the quiz. When you have a true/false section in any scholarly exam, only verifiable statements can be considered true, not things that could possibly be true. This is standard for writing tests. For example, I would not accept true as the answer to some statement about Abraham Lincoln unless I had something that verified the statement, not simply the suggestion that the statement might possibly be true.

    Regarding the events of Christmas, it certainly is possible that the star the wisemen saw was particularly bright, for example, but there is nothing in Scripture that verifies that statement. Hence, for the sake of the quiz, the statement is false, though our knowledge of the fact is actually agnostic–we can’t say it was bright but we also can’t say categorically that it was not.

    Hope that helps.

    Becky


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