Test your Christmas knowledge
The birth of Jesus Christ has been told and read about for 2,000-plus years. But how well do you remember the facts, most of which are found in Scripture?
|1. Who issued a decree that all the world should be enrolled and registered?
|A. Caesar Augustus
||C. Pontius Pilate
|2. Which angel told Mary to name her child "Jesus"?
|3. What does the name Jesus mean?
|4. True or false: According to Scripture, Mary rode the donkey and Joseph walked the 80 or so miles from their hometown of Nazareth to Bethlehem.
|5. Where was Jesus born?
|6. True or false: According to Scripture, it was the innkeeper who told Mary and Joseph, "There is no room in the inn." Then he pointed them to the stable.
|7. Historically, Jesus was born in:
|A. A wood barn
||B. A limestone cave
|8. True or false: After the shepherds visited the child, later on that same night the Magi arrived.
|9. How many Magi came to see Jesus?
|10. Name the Magi's gifts.
|11. True or false: Jesus was born on Dec. 25.
|12. True or false: Jesus was born in the year A.D. 0.
|13. How many days of Christmas are there, and when does it begin?
|14. In 1223, who made the first Christmas creche, a scenic representation of the Nativity?
The Rev. Franklin Chun is rector of Epiphany Episcopal Church.
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Caesar Augustus (Luke 2:1).
2. Gabriel (Luke 1:26-31).
3. God, Savior (Matthew 1:21 and Luke 1:31). The definition is usually found in footnotes of certain translations of Scripture.
4. False. Scripture does not say. We presume that they used a donkey.
5. Bethlehem (Luke 2:4; Matthew 2:1).
6. False. Scripture does not mention the innkeeper.
7. A limestone cave. Stables made of wood, similar to the American barn, were unknown in the Eastern Mediterranean area. Instead, animals were kept in caves of the soft limestone cliffs.
8. False. Matthew writes (2:11) that the Magi came to the "house" where Jesus was. The stable is not mentioned at all. By then it is presumed that Jesus was older, perhaps a year old.
9. We don't know exactly. It could have been as few as two or as many as 20. Tradition says three because of the gifts described, one gift per giver.
10. Gold, frankincense, myrrh.
11. False. The exact month is uncertain. In the first few centuries, the celebration of Jesus' birth took place in April, August or September. Besides, December was just too cold to be grazing sheep outdoors. In the fourth century, the church chose to celebrate on Dec. 25 to offset a Roman festival.
12. False. The Roman monk Dionysius, who formulated our calendar to begin with the birth of Jesus, had so few facts. Note that the Gospel of Matthew states that Jesus was born "in the days of King Herod." However, using Dionysius' interpretation, Herod died in 4 B.C. Historians today have fixed Caesar's decree between 4 B.C. and 9 B.C. Hence, instead of this being A.D. 2005, our calendar should really be marked A.D. 2009 to 2014.
13. There are 12 days, according to tradition. Dec. 25 is Day One.
14. St. Francis, best known as the patron of animals, used people instead of statues in the depiction of the Bethlehem scene.