Perhaps the most well-known story of the New Testament, Jesus’ birth has inspired many people to write plays, poems, stories and films.
As this story has been told, and retold so many times, the truths start to get a little distorted over time, and common believe and myths start to enter.
Is there any truth in the traditional nativity play?
And what does the Bible say really happened?
Mary riding a donkey to Bethlehem.
The Bible does not say how Mary and Joseph got to Bethlehem.
It is generally assumed that Mary rode on the back of a donkey, as they were the most popular animals to be used for transportation at the time.
Mary gives birth shortly after arriving at Bethlehem.
The Bible does not say when Mary gave birth.
It would make more sense for Mary and Joseph to arrive a couple of weeks before giving birth, as traveling such a long distance in her condition would have been bad for both the mother, and the baby.
The Inn, Innkeeper, and Jesus being born in a stable.
No innkeeper is mentioned in the Biblical accounts of Jesus’ birth.
In Chapter 2 of the Gospel of Luke, it is said: “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn” 1.
The original Greek word for Inn is “kataluma“.
This word can also be translated to “Guest Chamber”.
The only other time this word is used by Luke in the New Testament is where he is referring to an upper story in a private house.
According to Biblical archaeologist, Jesus was most probably born in the house of relatives but underneath, or outside of the normal guest quarters – not in a barn or inn.
The little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes.
This is perhaps one of the most popular Christmas Carols ever sung.
But sadly there are no references within any of the four gospels contained within the New Testament that the state whether Jesus cried after being born or not.
Angels present at the birth of Jesus.
Many Christians believe that there would have been angels present.
However the gospels do not state whether there were any angels or not.
Three kings riding camels come to Jesus’ birth.
The Bible does not say that any kings, or camels came to Jesus’ birth.
There are reports that Wise Men, or Magi came to visit Jesus, but the Bible does not say how many.
It is commonly believed that there were three, as the Wise Men came baring gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.