Recently, my daughter was looking at a copy of The Christmas Story: The Brick Bible for Kids — author Brendan Powell Smith’s LEGO depiction of the Christian nativity. The book is fun and funny, and I figured she’d love it. But, when Maxine got to page 11, she slammed it shut.
“I don’t like this book,” she announced.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because,” she said. “It’s not right. Mary came to Bethlehem ON A DONKEY.”
I reopened the book. Sure enough, there was Mary and Joseph walking to Bethlehem.
“Actually,” I explained, “the Bible never says anything about a donkey. That part was added in later by other people.”
“No!” she said, all pissed off. “MARY RODE A DONKEY!”
Then she slammed the book shut again.
Wow, kid, I thought. You’re going to have a hard time when I tell you the rest of it.
Historically speaking, it’s highly — and when I say highly, I mean HIGHLY — unlikely that Jesus was born in a stable, or placed in a manger, or visited by three magi. Because it is highly unlikely that Joseph and Mary made that trek to Bethlehem in the first place — on a donkey or otherwise. According to scholarly research on the subject, Jesus was probably born near his hometown of Nazareth, and it was probably not in December, and the birth was probably pretty unceremonious. After all, historically speaking, Jesus didn’t rise to prominence until he grew up and started his traveling ministry. [Read more...]