Misconceptions About Christmas

Misconceptions About Christmas

Skeptics and atheists frequently attack Christianity by saying that much of what people celebrate at Christmas is either impossible or inaccurate. God coming to Earth would seem impossible if you don’t believe in God or miracles. However, much of the weakness of the skeptic’s arguments is that they attack misconceptions about Christmas.

For example, they criticize the “star of Bethlehem” as impossible. That “star” cannot be a celestial object since the closest star to Earth is Alpha Centauri A, which is 4.3 light years away. Like all celestial stars, it is too far away to stand over a Bethlehem stable. Herod didn’t see the star, and Luke 2:8-15 tells us that angels visited the shepherds but doesn’t mention the star. It had to be an extraordinary miracle of God.

The “wise men” described in Matthew 2:1-2 were “magi from the east,” not kings, and the Bible doesn’t say how many. When they arrived, the Christ child was not in a stable but in a “house” (Matthew 2:11). Atheists and skeptics often challenge misconceptions about Christmas that they see on greeting cards and pictures of the Christmas season rather than what the Bible actually says.

Skeptics also criticize the idea that shepherds were in the fields in late December. The Bible does not record the date of Jesus’ birth, and December is not the time shepherds would have been there. Christmas cards often depict angels with wings and golden harps, but neither of those references is biblical. Christmas songs may also create misconceptions about Christmas. There is no “little drummer boy” in the Bible. While we can enjoy the beauty of Christmas songs, go to the Bible for the facts of Christ’s birth.

December 25 is a great day to enjoy family and declare a rest at the end of the year. However, celebrating Christmas on that day is a human tradition, not a commandment of God. We should honor the incarnation of Christ every day as we look forward to His return.

— John N. Clayton © 2023