How True Is The Nativity Story?

nativity-sceneI got to thinking yesterday about the Nativity story and the birth of Jesus, I don’t know why, because I am not particularly religious, and I wondered just how true the events that are celebrated throughout the Christian world really are.

To my knowledge research has not as yet identified the “wise men” who visited the baby in the stable, although the time period is now more recognised as being a month after the birth, celebrated as the “Epiphany”.

But how were these events relayed to the point where they were written down by the authors or the Gospels, and just how much truth is there in the events?

There is little I recall regarding actual documents about King Herod having all newborn baby boys killed.  I am not aware of any written records in Bethlehem about shepherds seeing a shining star and hearing angels singing on the hillsides.   Was he really born in a manger in a stable because there was no room at the inn?

Jesus was, let’s face it, a newborn baby, so he wouldn’t remember anything, which leaves I presume only his parents, Joseph and Mary to relate the story over the years.

Now the gospels were written after the death of Jesus, in some cases many years after his death, by which time his parents had also passed on.  So where did the authors get their information?

At best I assume, Joseph and Mary told the story of his birth to Jesus, who maybe relayed this to others while he studied in the temple in Nazareth at a young age, however, given the strict religious code of those days, such stories would have been not only banned but downlight dangerous to tell.

So maybe Jesus told the stories regarding his birth as he preached and built up his following, but if so, how come none of this is mentioned in the Gospels?  Many of his other stories and preachings are included, but not the story of his birth.

Or are the majority of the events that took place during the birth of Jesus just fanciful colorations that have been added over the centuries to make the birth appear more miraculous, especially when being told to simpler folk or those of other faiths in an attempt to convert them to Christianity?

As I said, this article is not meant to be from a particularly religious angle.  The thought of where the detailed information came from just had me puzzled.   I would love to get some feedback from all angles to see what other people think about the origins of this story.


A friend sent me this cartoon today, which got me thinking – again… and I thought I would like to share with you a satirical view on what might happen if Jesus was to have visited other planets as well as ours.  I hope you enjoy this.

what-if-jesus-visited other planets


There have been a number of very interesting discussions on this topic on Tagfoot regarding the historical evidence behind the nativity story, corroborating the actions of King Herod as well as the visitations of the Wise Men. I invite you to drop in there and take a look, if you are interested in more information.

8 thoughts on “How True Is The Nativity Story?”

  1. There is historical evidence that Harrod did order all male children under the age of two to be killed at the time of Jesus’ birth; however, there is no other historical record of his birth, or the immaculate conception.

    1. I had heard about that, and it’s a good thing in a way because it does add some historical links to part of the story. If only there was more evidence, that would be really nice I think.

  2. I am not a pastor, or authoritarian, I am a believer and I know what I know through a lifetime of study in God’s word, the Bible. The birth of Jesus is foretold throughout scripture and prophesied by both the major and minor prophets. The accounts in the gospels can be cross-referenced with each other and have withstood the test of time and history as being historic. I am thankful for the Christmas story even though it probably didn’t happen in month of December. The holiday has been taken over by non-Christians and made too commercial, but that does not mean it didn’t happen. God’s Word does not need outside sources to make it credible in and of itself…

    1. I am not denying the events did not take place though, it’s just that there is no proof that everything happened as stated in the Gospels, which were written down many years later, and possibly also doctered by the early church.
      There is no denying the prophecies as you said, and it is quite remarkable how accurate these can be, both in the Old Testament as well as other more secular prophecies throughout history. It’s good to believe.

      I do agree with you that Christmas now is a time to celebrate buying gifts and spending lots of money. I am sure Jesus would not approve. While I do approve of it being a season of goodwill, and that it’s a good thing for people of all religions (or no religion) to treat this as such, the pure commercialism is not a good thing.

  3. ok I visited Israel several times and when I visited the Bethelem Church I was surprised to hear fm several Catholic Fathers that there was no nativity tht Christ was born in this cellar under the altar of the church I was told that only in America do we still beleive in the nativity and the rest of the world knows that the carved out cellar of the church was the birth place the nuns fell on their knees at the star in the cellar

    so what am I to beleive

    1. I do believe that the story of the Nativity, like so many ancient stories, has been embellished and distorted over the centuries. I do however believe that a lot of what happened was real.

      For a start we all imagine the characters wearing clothing from the middle ages, because we are used to seeing paintings from the Renaissance period.

      The church has also made sure that we are told the story as they want us to hear it, and of course there are no known records of the actual events that took place on that night.

  4. I am a Christian and I think that the whole point is that you have to believe through faith and not everything can be proven or have historical evidence. The bible, as a previous poster quite rightly said foretold Jesus birth throughout the old testament. Jesus is not just the newborn baby in the manger, as wonderful as that is, he is also the crucified, final sacrifice who rose from the grave and conquered sin and death for anyone and everyone who believes by faith that he is the way to eternal life – that’s the best Christmas present that I or anyone else can have, but just like the presents under your tree, you have to take hold of it and unwrap it for yourself before it is truly yours. I wish you all a very happy and Christ filled Christmas. May God bless you

    1. As a non practising Christian I don’t believe in a lot of the embellishments in the story, however I do believe in the magic of Christmas and that the Christian promotion of “Goodwill to all men” is something that we should all believe in and use.

      Wishing you and all visitors to our site a wonderful Christmas.

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