Myths begin when a story or idea is shared so often that fact and fiction become blurred, when we stop thinking critically and let tradition dictate reality. This can happen to anything, and Christmas is no exception. With that in mind, author Justin Lee recently posted six Christmas myths we need to end.
One myth is that Jesus was visited in the manger by three kings. Nope! Justin notes, “The Bible story says that a group of magi, or wise men, visited Jesus as a child in his house—long after his birth—bringing three gifts. But the story doesn’t say how many wise men there were, and they were more likely astrologers, not kings.” If you want to use your nativity a bit more accurately, Crosswalk.com contributor Jay Ryan suggests adding the three wise men two weeks after Christmas, on the Feast of Epiphany.
Justin also calls the “war on Christmas” a myth. “Yes, there’s consumerism and Santa Claus,” he writes. “Yes, there are some anti-Christian messages too. But if you just look around, there are people everywhere talking about Jesus at Christmas. Even secular radio stations and popular malls play religious Christmas carols this time of year…Even Walt Disney World, our #1 tourist destination, brings in celebrity narrators all month long to read the story of Jesus’ birth—from the Bible!—as a choir sings about Jesus. At Disney World. So I don’t buy this whole Christian oppression stuff. Yes, it’s hard to focus on the faith message in the midst of all the consumerism, but let’s not pretend that’s the same as oppression.”
Of course, many disagree. Jim Denison recently wrote, “Get ready for the annual Christmas assaults on Jesus. Last year, an atheist group sponsored a billboard in New York City's Times Square proclaiming "Dump the Myth!" beneath a statue of Jesus on the cross. We will undoubtedly see more of the same again this holiday season.” Meanwhile, state lawmakers in Texas and Missouri attempt to pass legislation against what they see as a war on Christmas. In their “Merry Christmas” bills, they’re demanding public schools be allowed to display holiday symbols.
In a comical touch, Justin even mentions the “Elf on the Shelf” craze—though he doesn’t weigh in on whether or not parents should use the elf in their homes. He just calls the doll creepy. If you’re looking for a headier opinion on Elf on the Shelf, check out Theresa Ceniccola’s piece, Put Jesus on the Shelf this Season. In it, she lists three ways she plans on putting Jesus—not an Elf—on display in her home. “I’m going to make sure my children understand that while Goody is here for a month, Jesus is watching over us every day,” Theresa writes. “… [I]t’s more important to be on God’s side than it is to be on Santa’s “nice” list.”
You can read the rest of Justin’s myths here.
What do you think? What Christmas myths do you wish would be debunked, or what truths about Christmas do you wish more people would remember?
Kelly Givens is the editor of iBelieve.com.