When you read the title and subtitle of this book it might seem strange to you. I understand if it does. But you could have been reading quite the wrong story all your life. Certainly your kids have been cast in starring roles in someone’s re-imagining of Christ’s birth.
We can’t exactly blame Hollywood for the inaccuracies that have crept in because, frankly, the version that gets retold as the story of the birth of Christ has been miss-told for generations.
Not only are there definite errors but there are huge gaps too!
Where we’re wrong:
1. The Wise Men. There might have been three – there could have easily have been six, or eight.The story of three wise men has been developed simply because of the presence of three gifts. I think it’s a bit of a leap, but we can agree to disagree on that one. And I know that somehow Three Wise Men rolls off the tongue easily. It’s just that the Bible doesn’t say one way or the other. In the scheme of things though it’s not a biggy.
2. The Wise Men and the Shepherds. These two groups of men were not in the story at the same time. The Wise Men appear some time later than the Shepherds in the biblical narrative and they are described as worshiping the child Jesus in a house. So the images we’ve seen for years on Christmas cards depicting shepherds and exotic travelers gathered around the manger is not a scene described in the Bible.
3. When the Wise Men come to worship Jesus, He is described as a child. So we’re looking at what probably is at least a gap of a year, maybe more, between the visit of the Shepherds and the visit of the Wise Men.
However, I think one of the most important reasons for describing this Christmas story book as the Bible Version is not simply because it corrects the mistakes – it’s because of the material it includes. And this is material that is often excluded from the story of the nativity.
The Christmas Story: The Bible Version begins at the beginning in the Garden of Eden, when mankind sinned. Why start there? Well that’s where we first find Jesus. Through the sin of our first parents we see the beginning of our own sinful natures. Then the punishment that we all deserve, death, raises it’s ugly head for the first time. However, not is all lost as in the promise of God we discover that there is a plan of salvation. There is a Savior. There is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It’s in the Garden of Eden and throughout the Old Testament that we see God revealing his plan of redemption. We see how Christ fulfills the prophecies of Genesis, Isaiah and Micah. And then we go on to see that the story of Christmas doesn’t just stop at Christ’s birth. Of course it doesn’t! A birth is only ever a beginning – and Jesus’ birth is a promise of greater things to come. Yes, there will be tears – but it’s a sadness to end sadness. Yes, there is a death – but it’s a death to end death. The true story of Jesus’ birth takes us us to the truth of Christ’s words in John 3: ‘You must be born again’. The story of Christ’s birth, his death, his resurrection must take us all to to that point where we are presented with the truth that sinners need saved, that we need to trust and obey God’s Word that we find in the Bible.
I hope you enjoy reading this book and sharing it with a child as much as I enjoyed working on it and Carine Mackenzie enjoyed writing it.
And here’s a thought – take out your Bible afterwards and read it to double-check!