It is so easy for us to be caught up in traditions that have been taught to us as children. We have learned to accept some things that have been taught for years without even a look in the Bible to see if those things are true. Most of these will not determine whether we go to heaven or not. But the fear is, what if we are accepting things without question and they are important. We should be like the Berean church and check out everything that is taught to be sure “those things are so”.
Acts 17:10And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
These people did not even take Paul and Silas’ word for it! They searched the scriptures. I do not know of any pastors today who soar to the level of Paul and Silas, so we must also search the scriptures.
So, having said that, let’s look at a Christmas tradition that we have held for years that may not be exactly the way the Bible says it:
Matthew Chapter 2 gives the story of the wise men who came to see Jesus. We see many manger scenes where the wise men are looking at the baby Jesus and presenting him gifts. When we look at the scriptures, we learn that the wise men never came to the manger:
9When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. 12And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
The scripture says they came into the house. This is different from the stable where he was born. We also assume that there were 3 wise men. The scripture never says that. It only says that there were 3 kinds of gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. There could have been hundreds of magi who came to worship Jesus: the point is that the scripture never says how many there were.
Also, we have been taught that the wise men followed the star from the east to Bethlehem. The Bible actually says that they saw the star in the east. It does not say how they knew it was HIS star. I believe it was revealed to them by God. Be sure to check the scriptures.
They did not FOLLOW the star until AFTER they went to Herod asking for directions. If they had followed the star, they would never have asked directions of Herod because it would have led them right to Jesus. I believe they knew it was the star of the one born King of the Jews, so they took a 2 years journey to Jerusalem (because it says that Herod killed the Babies 2 years old and under according to the time the wise men said they saw the star.) They were extremely excited when they saw the star AFTER they left Herod. (verse 10). This tells me that they did not follow it to Herod. But it does say they followed it after that.
This is not meant to shoot down any Christmas traditions you have. If I had a manager scene, it would probably have 3 wise men at the manger. The purpose of this blog is to teach us to read the scriptures for ourselves and do not take ANYONE’S word for it in any matter. Pay attention to the details. God put them there for a reason.