Christmas Trivia

Impress your family and friends with this Christmas quiz.

  1. How many stories are there about the birth of Jesus?

Some folks will say there are two stories of Jesus’s birth—Matthew and Luke—but there are actually three: the third (not in the New Testament) combines the first two and then adds new details (see below) not in the Bible. We see much of the third story in Christmas pageants and crèches.

  1. Who was the father of Jesus: the Holy Spirit, God, a Roman soldier, or Joseph?

No one really knows who the father of Jesus was but Mary. Matthew and Luke say the Holy Spirit. A second-century historian named Celsus said that a Roman soldier raped Mary. His name was Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera (20 BCE to 40 CE). I’m going with Celsus. It’s much more plausible than the Holy Spirit or God. And let’s not forget, Mary supposedly stated, “I have no husband” (Luke 1:34).

  1. How many wise men (Magi) were there?

Matthew doesn’t say how many Magi there were, but a Christmas song says, “We three kings of orient,” and they are bringing three gifts, so three Magi.

  1. What is the significance of giving Jesus gold, frankincense, and myrrh?

Gold symbolizes kingship. Frankincense represents priestliness, which follows that Jesus has been called the “great high priest” (Hebrews 4:14). Myrrh prefigures death, specifically Jesus’s death on the cross. Myrrh is used to anoint kings or dead bodies or whatever needs anointing.

  1. Where did the Magi find Jesus: an inn, a stable, a manger, a house, or Trump Tower?

Matthew 2:11 says the Magi found Jesus at a house. Luke doesn’t say. Some folks swear it was Trump Tower.

  1. What kind of animal were the Magi riding?

Matthew doesn’t specify what animals the magi were riding, but Western churches and Christmas pageants and crèches have them on camels while Eastern churches put them on horses. I know this: horses are much more comfortable to ride than camels.

  1. What farm animals were gathered around Mary and Joseph at the manger?

Neither Matthew nor Luke mention any animals around the manger, but Christmas pageants and crèches often have donkeys, sheep, goats, and cows. I suspect the mention of a manger conjures an image of a stable, which suggests barnyard animals.

  1. Why did Mary and Joseph go to Bethlehem?

Matthew implies that Bethlehem is where Mary and Joseph lived. Luke says that Quirinius, governor of Syria, called a census and demanded everyone return to his or her town of birth. History doesn’t show any such census happening, and reality imagines the total chaos in that area with everyone returning to the town of his or her birth. Yikes!

Judaism said the Messiah needed to be born in Bethlehem because that was King David’s birthplace, and the Messiah was supposed to be like David, but without so much baggage.

  1. Why did Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus flee to Egypt?

Supposedly King Herod had heard from the Magi that a “king of the Jews” (Matthew 2:2)  was born, and he wanted to eradicate him (kings hate competition). But the wise men “forgot” to go back and tell Herod where the child was, so Herod the Great supposedly issued an edict for all male children under the age of two living in Bethlehem to be killed. History doesn’t record any such horrendous event.

Another story suggests that an angel of the Lord told Joseph to take his family to Egypt, so he did because an Old Testament prophet Hosea (11:1) said, “Out of Egypt, I called my son.” Thus, Jesus fulfilled that Old Testament prophecy.

  1. Was Jesus born on December 25?

Jesus was probably not born on December 25. History has no idea when, where, or how Jesus was born. Constantine picked this date in about 336 CE to counteract a Roman god’s holiday that too many men used as an excuse to get drunk. It sort of worked until someone invented Christmas office parties.

The bottom line: Neither Matthew’s nor Luke’s story of Jesus’s birth is true. Each writer invented a story, published around 85–100 CE (fifty-five to seventy years after Jesus died), to share his truth: Jesus was the Messiah who had been prophesied centuries before.

Eastern Christian churches do nothing on December 25. They didn’t like Mr. Constantine’s theology. They celebrate Jesus’s coming into the world on Epiphany, January 6. (Me too.) So far, merchants haven’t cashed in on Epiphany, but most celebrate Christmas in a big way not because of Jesus but for lots of money.

I hope you enjoy the holidays with lots of PeaceLoveJoyHope.


5 thoughts on “Christmas Trivia”

    • Sorry for the delay in answering but had technical issues. One never saw any nativity stories until 85 CE at the earliest. The stories are all fabricated but the truth is inside the story. This truth: Jesus’ birth, looking at this truth is , Jesus was a very special human being. His birth, when or wherever, changed the course of civilization and if you don’t believe that he was the long, awaited Messiah, look at all the OT references about the Messiah having come from Egypt just to mention one OT prophecy. There is very little in the NT that is a true fact. But all the storied contain truths. My finding: The Bible is a much more interesting religious history if one reads and studies it from that Jewish methodology. Pax

  1. Bil, I really like your wonderful, playful, informative review of biblical facts regarding Christmas. There probably were many motivations for authors
    to invent and imagine these events. At Christmas, I am still grateful for this fiction in honor of the Jesus whom I admire and who still inspires me.


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