Is the Christmas story true?
Yes, but not everything people associate with the story comes from the Bible.
With Christmas here next week, I figured it would be good to take a look at whether the Christmas story you probably grew up hearing each year as a kid can be believed beyond reasonable doubt.
Five Reasons You Can Trust the Story of Christmas is True
If you just want quick explanations of why the Christmas story is most likely true, read this Christianity Today article.
Among several points, the author argues:
Myths like Mithras were far likelier to have come from the original Biblical story, than the reverse.
The virgin birth is one of the oldest documented beliefs of Christianity.
If God could create the universe, a virgin birth is a simple miracle by comparison.
How can we truly "know" anything about the past?
This article talks about "knowing" the past in terms of gauging how likely an event was to have happened. Unless you’re observing something in real time — and even perhaps not even then — you can’t know anything with 100% certainty.
Pastor Brian Chilton then goes on to list precisely what in the Biblical story of Christmas is most likely true. It's worth a read just to understand the metrics historians use, which you can then apply to anything about the past you're investigating.
Is there evidence a star could have led the wise men?
No evidence has been discovered by astronomers, according to this blog post. The article summarizes a chapter of a book called The Created Cosmos: What the Bible Reveals About Astronomy by Dr. Danny Faulkner. The blog posts says Faulkner does not find credible any of the proposals for what the specific star could have been (like Halley's comet). It could have just been something miraculous meant only for those three wise men.
Dig deeper with the book The Case For Christmas
If you have the time and interest, It's worth reading The Case for Christmas. It's a fairly short book by journalist and lawyer Lee Strobel. He interviews several historians.
The book helps bring together the facts around answering some key questions I had, including:
How much of the trip to Bethlehem is to be believed?
Isn't the birth of Jesus just one of many myths that sound about the same?
Is the virgin birth really the best and earliest translation, or could it have instead more accurately been translated young girl?
How can we embrace science, yet still believe in the concept of a virgin birth?
If Herod killed all the boys age 2 and younger, why isn't there multiple sources documenting this atrocity?
Did Jesus really think he was the Messiah?
Did Jesus match the Messiah described in the Old Testament?
Let's live like we Christians believe it's real:
Even if it were not true, wouldn't it be cool if every person believed it?
I thought that was a wonderful sentiment when I read this blog post by author Tim Stratton. While the article is worth reading, I especially loved how author Tim Stratton concluded his piece:
"With all of these arguments in mind, why not promote, proclaim, and defend the God of Christmas? After all, even if all of these powerful arguments for the existence of God turned out to be false, if all the world lived according to the teachings of Jesus Christ 52 weeks a year, then we would have a virtual end to war, starvation, epidemics, pain, misery, abject loneliness, violence, hatred, narcissism, self-aggrandizement, and so much suffering!"
Merry Christmas Friends,