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How well do you know the Christmas story?

I challenge you to take the following Christmas trivia test!  Many “facts” about Jesus’ birth we take for granted are not really fact at all. Centuries of tradition and and even popular culture have affected the way we view the story of Jesus’ birth.

Can you separate biblical truth from pure fiction? Should you even care? Yes, Christians must handle God’s Word with care and diligence in every area. Let’s start by checking our facts on the Christmas story. Be honest, answer the multiple choice without looking ahead or using your Bibles or the internet.  I will give the answers and Scriptural support at the end. (Download & Print this PDF version!)

1. How did Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem?

a. Camel
b. Donkey
c. Walked
d. Volkswagen
e. Joseph walked, Mary rode a donkey
f. Who knows?

2. What did the innkeeper tell Mary and Joseph?
a. There is no room in the inn.
b. I have a stable you can use.
c. Come back after the Christmas rush
d. Both a and b
e. None of the above

3. What is a manger?
a. Stable for domestic animals
b. Wooden hay storage bin
c. Feeding trough
d. Barn

4. According to the Bible, which animals were present at Jesus’ birth
a. Cows, sheep. goats
b. Cows, donkeys, sheep
c. Miscellaneous barnyard animals
d. Lions, tigers, and bears
e. We don’t know

5. What “sign” did the angels tell the shepherds to look for?
a. A star over Bethlehem
b. A baby that doesn’t cry
c. A baby in a stable
d. A baby lying in a manger
e. None of the above

6. Who saw the “star in the east?”
a. Shepherds
b. Mary and Joseph
c. Magi (aka Wise Men)
d. Both A and C
e. None of the above

7. What did the heavenly host of angels say?
a. Joy to the World
b. Alleluia
c. Unto us a child is born
d. Glory to God in the highest

8. Did the baby Jesus cry?
a. He never cried
b. He cried just like other babies
c. Only when the little drummer boy banged his drum

9. How many Magi came to see Jesus?
a. We aren’t sure, but probably less than 10
b. Three
c. We don’t know for sure, but there were probably dozens of people in their entourage

10. Where did the Magi find Jesus?
a. In the manger
b. In the stable
c. In an inn
d. In a house

Okay, here we go. Some answers and explanation!

1. The Bible does not say anything about a donkey. Luke 2:4 simply tells us that Joseph and Mary went from Nazareth to Galilee. Many biblical scholars do think that because of their economic status they probably both walked.

2. The Bible does not record any words spoken by the inn keeper. In fact, Luke does not even mention an inn keeper, merely an inn and the fact that there was no room. Luke 2:7. To get really specific, there is also no mention of a stable.

3. A manger is a feeding trough for animals.

4. Read Luke 2:1-20. There is no mention of animals of any kind around Jesus after His birth.

5. The star is only mentioned in conjunction with the Magi. They told Herod they had seen the star. See Matthew 2:2.

6. The sign the angels told the shepherds to look for was a baby lying in a manger. Luke 2:12.

7. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests” Luke 2:14.

8. Baby Jesus was fully human. He cried when He was hungry, tired, wet, and in pain just like any other baby.

9. The Bible does not tell us how many Magi visited Jesus. The tradition of “3” probably developed because they presented 3 kinds of gifts. According to scholars the Magi’s journey probably lasted up to two years with an entourage of dozens or more people.

10. Sorry to wreck your nativity scenes but the Magi were not present the night Jesus was born. Scriptural evidence shows Jesus could have been as old as two by the time they arrived. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were staying in a house. See Matthew 2:11.

Feel free to download and print this PDF version to use at Christmas parties, in your SS classes, or just to show your family how “smart” you are!

So, how did you do? Which ones do you think would trip up more Christians?


Did this little trivia quiz challenge you to more thoroughly study the Bible? If so, in what way?

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15 Responses to How well do you know the Christmas story?

  1. Joan December 7, 2011 at 10:02 pm #

    Woo hoo! I did pretty well! The questions that stumped me were the ones asking about animals, etc. I didn’t know the answer…and I guess that’s because the Bible doesn’t mention them here! Isn’t it interesting how our traditions play so much a part in how we think of the Nativity? This year, my Nativity scene simply has Mary, Joseph and Jesus in it, with Jesus, of course, in the center. And isn’t that they way it should be? Jesus should always be at the center of our lives. He is what Christmas is all about. He came to set us free. I’m am praising God with the angels for His incredible gift! “Glory to God in the highest!!”

    • Kathy December 7, 2011 at 10:35 pm #

      Joan, good job! Love the description of your nativity!

  2. Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates December 8, 2011 at 1:22 am #

    Excellent quiz!! Thanks! We’ve just been reading in Luke and I *still* got some wrong! I think it shows how much the popular stories influence our thoughts. It also emphasizes just how important it is for us to continually be reading God’s Word and never assume that we know it well enough.

    • Kathy December 8, 2011 at 1:33 am #

      Hi Lisa! Thanks for your comments. Well said. The study of God’s Word is a life-time pursuit. We will never be able to explore all its depths!

  3. Darrell December 8, 2011 at 3:26 am #

    How ironic,this Sunday we are performing a play called Bethlehem Inn, boy do we have it wrong.

    • Kathy December 8, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

      Hi Darrell! Wish I could be there to attend the play. I don’t know what all is in it, but as long as nothing is directly against a spiritual truth I believe it’s okay to “fill in some gaps” for a play. As long as everyone understands the play does that for theatrical purposes and you aren’t not trying to portray things exactly like they were. Many fiction authors do the same thing with historical fiction novels.

  4. Ashley S. December 8, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

    I scored a 70%! Hey, at least it’s passing. Haha. I thought I would’ve nailed it, but it seems I’ve “filled in the gaps” myself. Looks like I have some reading to do! Thanks for the fun quiz and turning my attention to the birth of our Savior this morning. 🙂

    • Kathy December 8, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

      Ashley, thanks for stopping by! Glad you enjoyed the quiz. The first time I took something similar it really hit home that I need to know what God’s Word says and not rely on what I hear.

  5. William Umstattd December 8, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    Very insightful. Many people get facts about Christmas wrong.

  6. Tracy December 19, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

    I missed the first one. I must be confusing Christ’s glorious entry into Jerusalem with their journey. Can you imagine walking nearly 100 miles in your last trimester?! It makes a ride on a donkey seem luxurious! Thanks for the quiz!

    • Kathy December 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

      Hi Tracy! Mary may have ridden donkey, but we aren’t sure. Scripture doesn’t say one way or the other. It’s funny though how most of us just picture it that way because that’s the way the story has been told for so long! But I think either way – walking or riding a donkey – would have been miserable!

  7. Ruth Plitt December 19, 2014 at 7:08 pm #

    This is great…Will you please email it to me?

    • Kathy December 20, 2014 at 8:43 am #

      Hi Ruth, I’ve added a link to a PDF version you can download and print! Enjoy!

  8. jo December 9, 2016 at 11:54 am #

    For this question:
    5. What “sign” did the angels tell the shepherds to look for?
    a. A star over Bethlehem
    b. A baby that doesn’t cry
    c. A baby in a stable
    d. A baby lying in a manger
    e. None of the above

    Luke 2:12 says “This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” So, it isn’t a trick question because the answer is d.


    • Kathy December 11, 2016 at 8:02 am #

      You are right! It isn’t a trick question! But many people think the sign was the star since that is so prominent in the biblical story and the cultural version as well.

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