Here is a simple test to see if you know your Christmas trivia. All of the questions are true or false so you have a fifty-fifty chance of getting it right. Scroll down to the bottom to get the answers and then check the scale at the very bottom to determine how you rank.
1. Mary and Joseph were engaged when Jesus was born.
2. Jesus was born and raised in Bethlehem.
3. Angels sang “Glory to God in the Highest” on the night of Jesus’ birth.
4. There were three wise men.
5. Shepherds and wise men worshiped Jesus on the night of His birth.
6. King Herod is the same King Herod that puts Jesus on trial and sends Him to Pilate.
7. Jesus’ name means “The Lord saves.”
8. The Magi (or “wise men” as it is translated in some Bibles) were kings from the Orient.
9. “Merry Xmas” is a conspiracy to take the “Christ” out of Christmas.
10. In the song The First Noel, what does “noel” mean?
And the answers are……….
1. True. (Matt 1:18,25)
2. False. Jesus was indeed born in Bethlehem, but He moved to Egypt after His birth until Herod died (Matthew 2:13-15) and then moved to Nazareth (Matthew 2:22-23) where He grew up (hence the name Jesus of Nazareth).
3. False. Angels said it, but there is no evidence that they sang it. “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.'” (Luke 2:13-14)
4. False, but maybe true. There were three gifts, but no mention of how many Magi. We only know there were more than one because Magi is plural. (Matthew 2:11)
5. False. Shepherds saw him on the night of His birth while He was still in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. (Luke 2:16) The Magi honored Jesus when He was an “infant” living in a “house” about two years later, “in accordance with the time” the Magi first saw the star. (Matthew 2:7, 11, 16)
6. False. Herod the Great died around 4BC. “Josephus tells us that Herod died after a lunar eclipse. He gives an account of events between this eclipse and his death, and between his death and Passover. A partial eclipse took place on March 13, 4 BC, about 29 days before Passover, and this eclipse is usually taken to be the one referred to by Josephus.” (Herod the Great, Wikipedia)
7. True. “Jesus” is from the Hebrew name whose English equivalent is “Joshua,” which means “The Lord (YHWH) saves.”
8. False. “Magi” is the root of our word for “magicians,” but they were not known for sawing beautiful women in half or pulling rabbits out of their hats. Magicians appear frequently in the Old Testament (Genesis 41, Exodus 7-9, Daniel 1,2) and were expected to interpret dreams, turn water into blood, turn sticks into snakes, and predict the future. The Magi were indeed “wise men” in the sense that they were very well-educated in the arts – especially astrology, which helped them predict the future. They are likely from Babylon, but the only clue as to their nationality is that they were “from the East.” (Matthew 2:1) It is not certain how they came to be known as kings such as in the song “We Three Kings,” but its likely origin is that they gave Jesus gold and the trip to Jerusalem would have cost a fortune in those days, a fortune perhaps only a king could afford.
9. False. The Greek word for “Christ” is Χριστος. As you can see, the first letter “chi” looks like an “X.” So Christians have used X as a shortened form of “Christ” for hundreds of years. The following is an excerpt of the histiry of usage from Wkipedia:
The word “Christ” and its compounds, including “Christmas”, have been abbreviated in English for at least the past 1,000 years, long before the modern “Xmas” was commonly used. “Christ” was often written as “XP” or “Xt”; there are references in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as far back as AD 1021.
The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and the OED Supplement have cited usages of “X-” or “Xp-” for “Christ-” as early as 1485. The terms “Xpian” and “Xtian” have also been used for “Christian”. The dictionary further cites usage of “Xtianity” for “Christianity” from 1634. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage, most of the evidence for these words comes from “educated Englishmen who knew their Greek”.
10. “Christmas.” Yes, I know this wasn’t a true or false question. Merry Noel to you too.
Handy dandy scale.
All 10 correct: Congratulations, you should buy yourself an honorary PhD from Ebay.
7-9 correct: You’re a regular N.T. Wright (and you probably know who he is!).
4-6 correct: You paid attention in church.
1-3 correct: You play Angry Birds while the pastor is talking.
0 correct: Even if you randomly selected your answers, the probability that you got all of them wrong is quite small. Well played, Einstein.