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10 Things About The Nativity

  1. Loughborough Church New Springs - 10 things about the nativityThe first nativity scene didn’t appear until 1223, more than a millennium after Jesus’ birth. Saint Francis of Assisi received permission from Pope Honorious 111 to stage the first nativity in an Italian cave. Present were an ox and an ass! In the Middle Ages, nativity scenes could be seen throughout the whole of Europe.
  2. The star of Bethlehem was real – the star however was most likely an astrological conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter. Competing theories are that the star was a nova. A comet or a new star or an aligning of Jupiter with the star Regulus.
  3. December 25 isn’t Jesus’ Birthday. In fact the bible doesn’t even indicate the time of the year that Christ was born. It wasn’t until the fourth century that the church finally decided upon December 25 as Christmas. In 2008 astrologers studying the appearance of the star of Bethlehem pinpointed that it could’ve been June 17th. However the important thing is not the date but the fact that we celebrate the wonderful incarnation of Jesus Christ.
  4. The exact number of wise men is unknown. Through the Christmas Carol ‘We Three Kings’ we are led to believe that there was three – but the Bible actually makes no mention of the number of wise men who visited Jesus. The Magi from the east did however bring Him three gifts – gold, frankincense and myrrh.
  5. Jesus was actually born in 1A.D. Most scholars nowadays put the date of Jesus’s birth at sometime between 7 BC and 2 BC. They reckon that the miscalculation was made by a sixth century monk Dionyslus Exiguus who also invented the modern calendar.
  6. People have been using the phrase Xmas since the 1500s. Many people think saying Xmas is taking the Christ out of Christmas – but that just wasn’t the case then (although it might be the case nowadays). In Greek X is the first letter of Christ’s name.
  7. The wise men might not have met Jesus as a newborn. Many scholars believe they arrived when Jesus was between one and two years old. When the wise men did arrive, the Bible says they visited Jesus at the family’s house and not at the place of his birth in the stable.
  8. Our modern concept of Christ’s birth comes from only two of the gospels – Matthew and Luke’s Gospel. The Gospels of Mark and John start with Jesus as an adult.
  9. The Bible doesn’t mention any animals being present at Jesus’ birth. Finding an ox in a modern day nativity isn’t that difficult – however finding them in the story of Jesus’ birth from the Bible is impossible. People assume the presence of animals due to the fact that Mary placed the baby in a manger or an animal’s feeding trough.
  10. Between 20 and 40 children were murdered following the massacre of the innocents. After the wise men failed to report back to Herod about Jesus’ birth Herod sent out an order to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under. Although still a terrible atrocity because Bethlehem was such a small village, experts estimate the number of boys murdered by Herod’s forces to be between 20 and 40.

So now you know !