A Christmas quiz about the Christian Christmas story.
1. True or false: There are no records of Joseph speaking in the Christmas story.
2. True or false: The star did not appear above the manger.
3. True or false: The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary first and then he appeared to Joseph.
4. True or false: Mary rode a donkey from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
5. True or false: Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem because of a decree by Caesar Augustus.
6. True or false: The wise men (magi) presented gifts to the baby Jesus at the stable.
7. True or false: Both Joseph and Mary were told that the baby was to be named “Jesus.”
8. True or false: After the angel’s announcement, the shepherds went immediately to Bethlehem.
9. True or false: The angels sang from heaven.
10. True or false: The three wise men (magi) presented gold, frankincense and myrrh to Jesus.
1. True. Although Joseph surely spoke, the Bible does not record any of his words.
2. True. The star, however, is said to appear over the house where Joseph and Mary and Jesus were living.
3. Maybe. Luke’s Gospel tells us that the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary. Matthew also relates the story of an angel’s appearance to Joseph, but he does not tell us the angel’s name.
4. Probably false. We know that Mary and Joseph were poor, since they took advantage of the exemption for the poor in the offering they made in Luke 2: 24. Donkey’s were expensive to buy and keep, so it is unlikely that the couple had a donkey to use on their trip.
5. True. See Luke 2:1
6. False. Matthew is clear that the holy family was living in a house by the time the wise men (magi) presented their gifts.
7. True. See Matthew 1:21 and Luke 1:31.
8. True. See Luke 2:15-16
9. Not exactly true. Luke does not tell us that the angels were singing but that they were “saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’” We might want to think of it as a military cadence, like that of soldiers on the march.
10. Probably false. There is no mention of the number of wise men, only of the number of their different gifts. The fact that their arrival in Jerusalem created such a stir makes it likely that there were more of them than three.
If you got eight or more right, you have a good knowledge of the Christmas story. If you scored less than eight, I recommend you go to church this week for a refresher. (In fact, I recommend you go to church this week, whatever your score – all of us could use a refresher on God’s love at Christmastime.)
Perhaps a refresher on his wisdom and power, too. The Christmas story testifies to both. For example, the wise men (magi) were members of a Persian tribe whose history dated back centuries. Some 650 years before Christ’s birth, a Jewish expatriate was given oversight of the Persian empire’s leading “wise men.” It was likely this man’s teachings that — six centuries later — brought the wise men to find the messiah. That speaks of God’s wisdom.
Consider this, too: The prophet had, centuries earlier, predicted that Bethlehem would be the birthplace of the Christ. But Mary lived far away, in Nazareth. So God used the political maneuverings of the world’s most powerful man, Caesar Augustus, to bring the holy family to Bethlehem, just in time for the birth of Jesus. That speaks of God’s power.
My wish for you this Christmas is that you journey beyond the stress, bills and hurry of the season to discover God’s love, wisdom, and power.
The Daily Reporter