by Dale Reeves
In case you missed this blog last Friday in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Christmas Day celebrations, before you check out the answers below, I invite you to first take the Christmas Quiz here; and while you’re at it, give it to your family members as well.
Now that you have taken the test, I will provide the answers. Before we go any further, I offer this caveat: Every time I have shared this quiz with a group of people, challenges and arguments have ensued. People have actually argued with me over it! Can you imagine that?!? When it comes to traditions, people tend to hold onto them tightly. Most of us were taught certain things growing up, and we may have sung certain Christmas carols that have solidified the things we believe we know. Even though we may have heard the Christmas story every year around this time, we may have glossed over certain details because they are already lodged in our memory in a certain way. Let’s allow God’s Word to teach us today.
Christmas Quiz Answers
- As long as it has been celebrated, Christmas has been on December 25th. False.
The church in Rome began formally celebrating Christmas on December 25 in 336 A.D. during the reign of Constantine. This date may have been chosen in an attempt to weaken the established pagan celebrations that occurred during this season. The Bible does not mention Jesus’ exact birthday. Many people have suggested that the presence of shepherds and sheep could indicate a spring birth.
- Joseph was from:
“All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee” (Luke 2:3, 4, NLT). Joseph may have been living in Nazareth at the time, but we don’t know exactly where he grew up, but we do know that his family’s roots were from Bethlehem.
- How did Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem?
F. Who knows?
The Bible doesn’t specifically tell us.
- Mary and Joseph were married when Mary became pregnant.
“This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18, NLT).
- Mary and Joseph were married when Jesus was born.
“He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child” (Luke 2:5, NLT).
- What did the innkeeper tell Mary and Joseph?
E. None of the above
There is no mention of an innkeeper in the Bible. “She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them” (Luke 2:7, NLT). I attribute our thinking about an innkeeper and his wife to the 1965 Charlie Brown Christmas special, and perhaps to many directors of children’s Christmas pageants through the years who needed to come up with more roles for children to play!
- Jesus was delivered in a:
There is no mention of where Mary actually gave birth to Jesus, only where he was laid after he was born (Luke 2:7).
- A manger is a:
C. Feeding trough for animals
- Which animals does the Bible say were present at Jesus’ birth?
F. None of the above
The Bible doesn’t specify which animals, if any, were present at Jesus’ birth.
- Who saw the “star in the east”?
E. None of the above
We do not know that there were “three kings” as we sing in the traditional carol “We Three Kings.” These men were called magi, Persian or Arabian astrologers who charted the stars and attached religious significance to their movements. The idea that they were kings may have come from Psalm 72:10, 11, which is attributed to King Solomon: “The western kings of Tarshish and other distant lands will bring him tribute. The eastern kings of Sheba and Seba will bring him gifts. All kings will bow before him, and all nations will serve him” (NLT). This prophecy was viewed with an eye toward Solomon’s reign, not a messianic prophecy pointing toward Jesus.
- How many angels spoke to the shepherds?
The key word here is “spoke.” We have the words recorded by one angel. “Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people’” (Luke 2:9, 10, NLT).
- What “sign” were the shepherds told to look for?
F. None of the above.
“And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12, NLT).
- What did the angels sing?
D. “Glory to God in the highest”
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14, NIV).
- What is a “heavenly host”?
E. An angel army
By definition, a heavenly host is a group or army with heavenly power to assist God’s people.
- There was snow that first Christmas:
D. Somewhere in Israel
Mt. Hermon is the highest mountain in Israel, boasting majestic snow-capped peaks rising just over 9,000 feet above sea level. Mount Hermon’s three distinct peaks are covered with snow most of the year, and its Arabic name actually means “snowy mountain.” Along with the melting snow and the abundant rainfall on Mt. Hermon, large springs at the base of the mountain form the main headwaters of the Jordan River.
- What is myrrh?
B. A spice used for burying people
“. . . When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away. With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought about seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes” (John 19:38, 39, NLT).
- How many wise men came to see Jesus?
No one knows.
Traditionally, people have referred to the number three because of the three gifts the magi presented to Jesus: gold, frankincense, and myrrh; as well as the Christmas carol, “We Three Kings,” which was written by John Henry Hopkins, Jr., in 1857.
- The wise men found Jesus in a:
“They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11, NLT).
Mary and Joseph and the infant Jesus were living in a house in Bethlehem when the magi arrived. Since the paranoid King Herod the Great was killing male boys in and around Bethlehem two years of age and under (see Matthew 2:16), this means Jesus may have been as old as two. The irony of the magi’s visit is that while even pagan astrologers came to worship the Jewish Messiah, the illegitimate king of the Jews sought to destroy him.
- Where do we find the Christmas story in order to check up on these questions?
G. Only A and C, Matthew and Luke
The Gospel of Mark begins with the account of John the Baptist, and the Gospel of John begins with John’s description of the “Word” that became flesh. If you chose “D” along with A and C, we’ll give that to you because John 1 does talk about the incarnation of Jesus “becoming flesh to dwell among us.”
- Joseph took the baby Jesus to Egypt:
D. Because he dreamed about it
“After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,’ the angel said. ‘Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him’” (Matthew 2:13, NLT).
As we enter into 2023, I pray that this will be a year when we dig into God’s Word for answers to our questions, comfort for our afflictions, and a light for our path.