Christmas Bible Trivia Questions plus Free Printables

The whole reason for the Christmas season is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Beyond the Christmas trees, Christmas movies, and Christmas parties, remembering the Christmas Story is vital.

These Christmas bible trivia questions are perfect holiday party games options for your Bible study group, Sunday school class, Women’s Christmas dinner, Advent gathering, or family game night!


Playing trivia games is a fun way to learn more about the Bible in a non-threatening environment as you blast the Christmas carols. They also introduce a little competition and fun activity interaction at your holiday parties. 

Small groups are better than large groups, but any age can play. The best part is that this free printable Bible trivia quiz provides a great way to learn both the Old Testament and New Testament.

Some of the Christmas bible quiz questions are easy. Most adults and kids of all ages would know most of the answers, but there are a few difficult questions that I had to look up!

Prophecy About Jesus’ Birth

The birth of Jesus was foretold centuries before He was laid in the manger. Before time began, God set in motion the perfect way that mankind could be saved from His wrath: a Savior.

The Savior to come would not be just anybody. Our Savior is God’s one and only Son! So here are trivia questions about the prophecy of Jesus’ birth, the names of Jesus, and His lineage.

  • Which Old Testament prophet said that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem?
  • Which King of Israel was Jesus Christ’s ancestor?
  • What name for Jesus means “God with us”?
  • Which book’s title in the Old Testament is a variation of Jesus’ name?
  • What Old Testament book makes the very first reference to Jesus?

Baby Jesus and His Birth

Knowing the circumstances of Jesus’ birth and the low status of Jesus’ earthly parents reinforces how our Savior came lowly to save all. 

Jesus could have been born in a palace with servants catering to His every whim. Yet He was born in poverty so that He would be accessible to all people.

  • What’s the name of the town where Jesus was born?
  • What was the name of Jesus’ mother?
  • Who was Mary engaged to when she became pregnant?
  • What was the name of the angel who told Mary she would give birth to Jesus?
  • How far did Mary & Joseph have to travel to Bethlehem?
  • What did Jesus sleep in after he was born?
  • Who was the emperor of Rome when Jesus was born?
  • Who was trying to kill baby Jesus?

The Shepherds

The shepherds on the hills of Bethlehem that night were no ordinary shepherds. 

These were Temple Shepherds tasked with tending unblemished sheep for the Temple sacrifices in Jerusalem not far away. 

It only makes sense that the shepherds who presented unblemished lambs to the Temple would announce to the world that the Unblemished Lamb of God had just been born!

These questions are included in the below free printable trivia game:

  • Who told the shepherds about Jesus’ birth?
  • What did the shepherds do after they heard the announcement?
  • Where did the shepherds find the baby Jesus?
  • After seeing Jesus, what did the shepherds do?
  • When the shepherds told Mary why they were there, what did Mary do?

The Wise Men

The wise men were magi from the East. They were known as the “kingmakers.” No one in the Medo-Persian empire was crowned king without their approval and consent.

They were kingmakers and accomplished astrologers. The stars revealed to them that there was a new king of the Jews. So they set out west.

These questions are included in this free printable game ready for your next holiday party:

  • Who were the “wise men”?
  • How many wise men were there?
  • What did the wise men follow to find Jesus?
  • What gifts did the wise men bring to Jesus?
  • How old was Jesus when the wise men showed up with their gifts?
  • In what town did the wise men find Jesus?

General Christmas Bible Trivia

Other than the categories above, there are important and fun facts to know about the Christmas Story. 

These are related to the birth and early years of Jesus that are relevant to the Christmas story. Good luck!

  • How many days after his birth did Mary and Joseph give him the name Jesus?
  • Where did Mary, Joseph, and Jesus flee to after Bethlehem?
  • What main book in the New Testament contains the story of Jesus’ birth?

Game Rules

It is always best to keep the game rules simple so that it is easy for younger players, as well. 

Pass out the game sheets and festive pens or Christmas pencils

Have one person call out the questions one at a time, giving time for all to answer.

​Check answers against the key, and the first person with the most correct answers wins! It’s always fun to offer prizes, too.

Bottom Line

Christmas is more than Christmas ornaments, singing a Christmas song (or two), eating a candy cane (or two dozen), and jingle bells

As Christians, we celebrate Christmas because it is the day that God put His promise into action to send a Savior to the world.

Because of Jesus’ birth, perfect life, death, and glorious resurrection, we have the hope of eternity for all who believe that He is Lord and Savior.

I pray that this fun game is a blessing for your Christmas get-togethers as you listen to Christmas music and celebrate the real reason for this holiday season: JESUS.

Merry Christmas blessings to you and your whole family!


If trivia or scavenger hunts are not your thing, here are some of my other favorite fun Christmas games.

Related Posts:

About the Author
Donna is a sought-after author, speaker, and Bible teacher. Her path from being unchurched to becoming passionate about sharing Jesus was not easy. Read her God-breathed journey: “From Unchurched to Becoming a Multi-Published Author and Sought-After Speaker.” If you want to send Donna a quick message, then visit her here.

{Some of these links are affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through that link, the ministry may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!}

Fun Christmas Trivia Game with Free Printable Quiz

The Christmas holiday season holds precious traditions. Amongst the delicious Christmas food, family traditions, and favorite Christmas songs, Christmas games are simply part of the festivities. 

Whether you’re gathering your entire family for family get-togethers or looking for holiday fun for your office party, here are fun Christmas trivia questions for all occasions (plus free printables and digital download). 


A lively Christmas trivia game provides your party guests with a fun activity for any holiday gathering or family game night. Plus, your more competitive guests will love the challenge! Scavenger hunts are a great option, but sometimes space and time constraints are not ideal.

The full, busy days of Christmas can be a tad hectic, so the best holiday game is also going to be a simple game. No hard work necessary! Holiday trivia games are also easy on the wallet, so a free printable game leaves spare dollars to offer a small prize or two.

As we gather near our festive Christmas trees with family and friends, fun games are a great way to put people at ease. So free Christmas trivia games are the perfect addition to your next holiday party!

To include fun for the whole family, a mix of challenging questions and easier ones make up great trivia games. These printable games are as simple as printing them out and passing them around. 

Christmas Carols and Songs Trivia

Singing at Christmas has always embodied the spirit of Christmas. The angels even sang at Christ’s birth! Here are trivia questions that include a popular Christmas song or two.

Question: In the song “Twelve Days of Christmas,” what is given on the third day?

Answer: Three French hens

Question: ​What Christmas carol includes these lyrics: “The stars in the sky look down where He lay, the little Lord Jesus asleep in the hay”? 

Answer: Away in a Manger

Question: ​Since he didn’t have a white Christmas, what color of Christmas did Elvis have?

Answer:Blue Christmas

Question: What color was Rudolph’s nose?

Answer: ​Red

Question: In Elmo & Patsy’s funny song, who got run over by a reindeer?


Question: Where was Mommy when she kissed Santa Claus?

Answer: ​Underneath the mistletoe

Christmas Movies Trivia

Christmas movies are an integral part of the Christmas season as much as jingle bells and Christmas decorations. Here are a few holiday movie questions to toss out.

Question: ​What did Ralphie want Santa to bring him in the 1983 movie “A Christmas Story“?

Answer:​ A Red Ryder BB Gun

Question:​ Why did Santa need Rudolph to guide his sleigh on Christmas Eve?

Answer:​ So the light from Rudolph’s nose could cut through the foggy night.

Question: In Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas“, in what state was the snow lodge?

Answer:​ Vermont

Question: On what street did Santa’s miracle take place?

Answer: Miracle on 34th Street

Question: ​What is the name of the mean, stingy man in “A Christmas Carol“?

Answer: Ebenezer Scrooge

Question: In the 2003 movie “Elf“, where does Santa’s sleigh crash?

Answer: ​Central Park

Question: In “Frosty the Snowman“, what made Frosty come alive?

Answer: ​Magic hat

Christmas Food Trivia

Christmas food is not simply about eating rich, lavish meals. It’s about sharing uninterrupted time with our loved ones as we appreciate the special, festive time we get to spend together.

Each of us has at least one favorite food that we like to see during the Christmas holidays. They have the power to ignite cherished memories of simpler times.

Question: Which fairy tale served as the inspiration for the first gingerbread houses?

Answer: Hansel and Gretel

Question: What country did the candy cane and gingerbread house originate from?

Answer:​ Germany

Question: What do the shape and color of candy canes represent?

Answer: They are shaped like a shepherd’s staff (or a “J” for Jesus); white represents the purity of Jesus and red represents the blood He shed for us on the cross.

Question:​ What beverage is also known as “milk punch”?

Answer:​ Egg nog

Question: What do American children traditionally leave for Santa by the fireplace?

Answer: Milk and cookies

Question: ​What do Swedish children traditionally leave for Santa?

Answer:​ Coffee

Santa and North Pole Trivia

The North Pole has long been famous for being the home to Santa Claus and year-round Christmas festivities. But what else do we know?

Question: Who lives at the North Pole other than Santa Claus? (list at least one)

Answer: ​ Mrs. Claus, Santa’s reindeer, the elves

Question:​ Who did Santa bring back to life?

Answer: A melted Frosty the Snowman

Question: ​What is Santa called in the United Kingdom (England, Great Britain)?

Answer: ​Father Christmas

Question:​ How many reindeer pull Santa’s sleigh?

Answer: ​Nine (original eight plus Rudolph)

Question: What are the names of Santa’s original eight reindeer that pull his sleigh?

Answer: ​Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen

Christmas Nativity Trivia

The story of the Nativity is the story contained in the Bible about Jesus Christ’s birth. Since His birth is why we celebrate Christmas, how well do you know the story?

Question: How did the shepherds in the fields hear about the birth of Jesus?

Answer: ​Angel’s announcement

Question: In what city was Jesus born?

Answer: ​Bethlehem

Question: ​Where did Joseph and Mary live before Jesus was born?

Answer:​ Nazareth

Question: What was the name of the angel who told the Virgin Mary that she would have a child?

Answer: ​Gabriel

Question: What gifts did the wise men bring to Jesus?

Answer: Gold, frankincense, and myrrh

Christmas Facts Trivia

Question:​ What US agency officially tracks Santa Claus as he delivers toys on Christmas Eve?

Answer: ​NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command)

Question: ​How many times does Santa Claus check his list?

Answer: ​Twice

Question: ​What does Santa’s belly shake like?

Answer: ​A bowl full of jelly

Question: What does Santa leave in naughty children’s stockings on Christmas morning?

Answer: A lump of coal

Bottom Line

Since Christmas time can be somber for some people, trivia games are a fun way to bring laughter to every face. These Christmas trivia game printables are easy to download for instant fun at your next Christmas party. 

The Christmas story is one of hope, salvation, and redemption. And it’s also FUN. Merry Christmas!


If trivia is not your thing, here are some of my other favorite Christmas games.

Related Posts:

About the Author
Donna is a sought-after author, speaker, and Bible teacher. Her path from being unchurched to becoming passionate about sharing Jesus was not easy. Read her God-breathed journey: “From Unchurched to Becoming a Multi-Published Author and Sought-After Speaker.” If you want to send Donna a quick message, then visit her here.

{Some of these links are affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through that link, the ministry may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!}

Best 2023 Advent Bible Reading Plan with Free Printable

During Christmastime, it is easy to get caught up in the busyness of the Christmas season. In the midst of traditions such as decorating a Christmas tree, we can forget to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas – the birth of Jesus. You need an Advent reading plan!

This Advent Bible reading plan helps us focus on God’s Word and His beautiful gifts to us during the Advent season – despite the busyness of the season.


What is Advent?

While you may see a chocolate Advent calendar or one made out of Legos serving as a countdown to Christmas in the secular world, Advent for the church is more than just a countdown to Christmas.

The word “advent” is from the Latin word for “coming” (adventus). In simplest terms, it describes the arrival of Jesus as a baby in the manger. During the month of December followers of Jesus around the world reflect on the nativity story and what the birth of Christ means for our faith. 

Jesus’ birth and the Christmas story are best reflected in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 2:1-21). If you attended Sunday school class as a child, you probably learned the real meaning of Christmas in the New Testament.

However, the Old Testament contains God’s promises concerning the coming Messiah in Isaiah 9:6: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

The season of Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. So the Sundays of Advent comprise the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day. In 2023, Advent begins on Sunday, December 3rd, and ends on Christmas Eve.

What Part of the Bible Should I Read During Advent?

The true story of Christmas is contained in these portions of the Bible: 

This Advent plan that walks us through daily Scripture readings for your Advent study time. It is a great way to know the real reason for our Advent journey this holiday season.

Why Do Christians Read Scriptures During Advent?

Christmas exists to celebrate the birth of our Savior! Reading daily Scriptures is not a random tradition of Advent. Rather, those words remind us why this special season exists: to celebrate the birth of the promised Messiah that God foretold from the beginning of time.

Glittery decorations are very festive and contribute to the beautiful things of Christmas. However, we celebrate the best gift of all in the true reason for the season: Jesus Christ.

He came to offer the hope of eternity with Him for all who believe that He came, lived a perfect life, died, and rose again to secure a place with Him in heaven. 

How to Celebrate Advent

Traditionally we gather at church or at home around an advent wreath with four candles in the wreath and one candle in the center. These candles represent Jesus Christ as the light of the world. Traditionally, three outer candles are dark purple, one is lavender and the center candle is white.

Although you may enjoy a traditional Advent wreath you can also use any five candles and be as creative or simple as you like for your family or church!

How to Use These Advent Resources

There are Scripture readings each day of Advent: December 3-24, 2023. You can read these on your own or with your family. 

If you have a little more study time some days, read the Bible verses and chapters surrounding the daily readings to better understand the context of what you are reading.

On Sunday, gather your family (friends, roommates, Bible study group) together (or you can certainly do it alone) and read through that week’s Bible passage list while lighting the next candle on your Advent wreath. This provides a beautiful reminder of the true meaning of the season, rather than ticking off items on a Christmas shopping list.

Advent Bible Reading Plan

I’ve created this FREE DOWNLOAD containing the Advent reading plan, Just print it out and tuck it into your Bible to read during Advent. Print it out and by all means, share it! 

Connect to my ministry Facebook page to read the short daily Advent devotions that go with each day’s Scripture. Here are the days of readings from Scripture at a glance. 

First Week in Advent

  • December 3: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
  • December 4: “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him.” (Isaiah 11:1-2)
  • December 5: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
  • December 6: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us).” (Matthew 1:23)
  • December 7: “And the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.'” (Luke 1:26-27, 31)
  • December 8: “But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.'” (Matthew 1:20)
  • December 9: “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks by night.” (Luke 2:8)

Second Week in Advent

  • December 10: “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.'” (Luke 2:10)
  • December 11: “And this will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a multitude of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God. (Luke 2:12-13)
  • December 12: “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” (Luke 2:13-14)
  • December 13: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14)
  • December 14“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see that which the Lord has told us about.’ So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.” (Luke 2:15-16)
  • December 15: “So they hurried and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.” (Luke 2:16)
  • December 16: “When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.” (Luke 2:17-18)

Third Week in Advent

  • December 17: “All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:18-19)
  • December 18: “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem…wise men from the east came to Jerusalem.” (Matthew 2:1)
  • December 19: “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2)
  • December 20: “And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him.” (Matthew 2:11a)
  • December 21: “Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11b)
  • December 22: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1, 4-5)
  • December 23: “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” (1 John 5:11)
  • December 24: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)

You Can Do It

An Advent Bible reading plan provides a meaningful way to reflect and center your heart on Jesus during the season of Advent. 

If you get behind on your daily Bible readings, simply skip to the appropriate day – no need to make up. The key is being intentional about seeking Jesus during this season.

Don’t worry about doing it perfectly. Intentionally setting aside time to spend with Jesus in His Word is the greatest gift of Christmas! 

Merry Christmas!

Related Posts:

About the Author
Donna is a sought-after author, speaker, and Bible teacher. Her path from being unchurched to becoming passionate about sharing Jesus was not easy. Read her God-breathed journey: “From Unchurched to Becoming a Multi-Published Author and Sought-After Speaker.” If you want to send Donna a quick message, then visit her here.

{Some of these links are affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through that link, the ministry may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!}

Bethlehem: The Church of the Nativity

Only six miles south of Jerusalem in the West Bank stands the oldest continually used place of Christian worship in the world, Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity. Originally built in the fourth century on the spot Christians hold as the birthplace of Jesus, historical sources reference the site as early as the second century.

Today, the Church of the Nativity is one of the most important sites of Christian pilgrimage, alongside Jerusalem’s Via Dolorosa and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Earlier this month, I led a group of thirty pilgrims to visit Bethlehem and its beautiful Church of the Nativity. Visiting in December took on special meaning as the birthplace of our Savior. Leading up to our visit and during our time there, I learned the extensive and powerful history of the Church of the Nativity which will inform your next (or first) visit to this incredible church.

Preserving A Holy Cave and Constantine’s Church

Commissioned by the Roman emperor Constantine in the fourth century, the first church built at the site was consecrated on May 31, 339. However, by the mid-third century, the site had already taken on a sacred position. Early church Father Origen writes about a cave in Bethlehem that was known to be the place of Jesus’s birth.

Thus, Empress Helena journeyed to the Holy Land in 327 AD and a basilica was constructed above the cave, parts of which still exist today. This church consisted primarily of an octagonal altar located directly above the cave, with a five-aisle nave and an atrium.

Intricate mosaic tile floors were part of the original Byzantine church, and they can still be seen today. Wooden floors have been built over the mosaic flooring for its protection, but at certain spots, special hatches have been installed that can be lifted to view the original fourth-century mosaics. There was a collective audible gasp when our group was able to view them. They are stunning, to say the least!

Justinian’s Church of the Nativity

Constantine’s original Church of the Nativity stood until the early sixth century when it was partly burned down. Although it is uncertain what event caused the fire, many believe that it was a result of the Samaritan revolts, which were responsible for the burning of several other churches in the region. Nevertheless, Emperor Justinian reconstructed the church soon after. It is this Justinian basilica that still stands today, although numerous modifications have been made through the centuries.

Many modifications and refurbishments occurred during the Crusader period (1099–1291 AD); however, some sections of the church still preserve Constantine’s original fourth-century construction. The Justinian church changed the octagonal altar area into a cruciform (cross) shape. The nave was extended and the atrium was covered to construct a narthex. Justinian erected fifty, 18-foot tall columns along the nave and transepts constructed from local stone quarried near Jerusalem’s Old City.

The courtyard and columned walkway offer beautiful places for reflection, prayer, and simply sitting and pondering what happened here over 2,000 years ago. The key is to never forget the history and miracle of the Christ child’s birth as you walk through the church and grounds.

The Crusader Period

Unlike most other churches in the region, the Church of the Nativity remained relatively unscathed between the time of Justinian and the modern day, avoiding destruction during the periods of instability and turmoil that accompanied the Sassanid, Islamic, and Crusader conquests.

Part of this was due to the church’s distance from Jerusalem, and the relative insignificance of Bethlehem for the region’s strategic defense. The church’s survival even led to stories and legends that it was miraculously protected from such events.

Islamic Rule

During the early Islamic period (c. 634–1099 AD), a Muslim prayer space was introduced into the church alongside the traditional areas of Christian worship. The site remained a pilgrimage destination for western Christians during this time. In 808 AD, Charlemagne sent a mission to the church to record its various details and possibly even carry out some repairs.

On June 7, 1099, the Crusading Franks conquered Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity. The following year, Baldwin of Boulogne’s coronation as king of the Kingdom of Jerusalem took place inside the church. Baldwin II would likewise be crowned king at the site in 1119.

During its years under Crusader control, extensive repairs and modifications were made to the church, mainly to bring it into conformity with the Latin rite. The basic plan of the Justinian church was left in place, however, as well as many of the various architectural features, including the columns. The Crusaders further encircled the complex in a large wall, parts of which were later incorporated into various monasteries that still stand today.

Beginning in the Crusader period, numerous murals, mosaics, and paintings were added to the church, including the lavish wall mosaics that are still partially preserved today, and the column paintings of various saints and supplicants, which were likely a joint venture between the church leaders and wealthy pilgrims.

The Church from Saladin until Today

Upon Saladin’s conquest of the Holy Land (around 1187 AD), much of the Roman Catholic clergy left the Church of the Nativity. Nevertheless, the church suffered very little damage and Christian worship continued at the site under the Greek Orthodox, Armenians, and other Christian traditions. Eventually, the Roman Catholics returned. The Church would continue relatively unaltered until the Ottoman period (1516–1917 AD).

Under the Ottomans, much of the marble, which had once decorated the Church of the Nativity, was plundered, possibly to be used in refurbishing Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock. Since graven images are strictly forbidden according to Muslim law, many of the faces of the images on the columns were removed and unable to be restored properly.

Although still in use, the church would enter a long period of decay. Likewise, the central nave of the church was used for non-worship purposes, including legal proceedings and even housing Ottoman troops in the middle east when required. Eventually, church officials regained control over the church although, over the next several centuries, it continued to fall into disrepair.

The Modern Church of the Nativity

In 2012, the Church of the Nativity was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site. At the time of its listing, it was considered in danger due to its poor state of preservation. However, in 2013, church officials and conservators began massive renovation projects on the church, restoring it to much of its former glory, Today, nearly two million visitors and pilgrims visit the church every year.

The entrance into the church is called “the Door of Humility” and was constructed during the Ottoman period. This small rectangular doorway is less than five feet high. In order to pass through this door, visitors are forced to bow down as they enter the church. The fact that visitors and pilgrims have to bow down in order to enter the Church of the Nativity has a theological significance: We must humble ourselves in order to approach God.

Accessing the Site Where Jesus was Born

The cave area where tradition holds that Jesus was born is located underneath the church’s altar area. Access is gained by descending steep marble steps into a grotto-like area. Various religions have donated ornate oil lamps that clergy and priests ensure are kept burning around the clock all year long.

The traditional place of Jesus’ birth is marked by a 14-point star, which signifies that Jesus is the son of David. Why a 14-point star? The Hebrew name for King David, dwd, has a numeric value: (d = 4) + (w = 6) + (d = 4) = the number 14. Also, three sets of fourteen generations separate Abraham and the birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:17).

Visiting Bethlehem in December

Visiting Bethlehem in December is magical, to say the least. As the birthplace of Jesus, Bethlehem is a must-stop this time of the year during the holiday season. I lead private groups on tours of Israel and this “Christmas city” where the birth of Christ took place is always a favorite. The low temperatures are in the 40s, while the average temperature in the daytime is in the 60s. December is not the coldest month and I have never encountered inches of snow during this time; however, snow has been known to happen in December.

This first month of the winter season means that winter shadows create excellent opportunities for taking beautiful photographs. December is one of the lowest UV index months, as well, and the average rainfall is minimal. Winter conditions requiring snow removal are exceedingly rare. Cold winds and snow showers are rare this time of year, as well. Cloud cover and the dew point are low, though a wet day may happen (as it rained briefly when our group was there).

The Bottom Line

It is important to understand the historical and traditional significance of Christian holy sites. However, we cannot leave out the spiritual significance. Bethlehem, according to God’s Word, was the place hand-picked by God before the beginning of time to welcome His Son into the world.

Bethlehem was intentionally chosen by our Creator. And our Creator intentionally created you.

If you ever have a chance to visit Bethlehem, do not let the physical beauty of a church diminish the spiritual significance of that beautiful place.

Related Posts:

About the Author
Although Donna is a sought-after Bible teacher, her path from being unchurched to become passionate about sharing Jesus was not easy. Go here to read her God-breathed journey, “From Unchurched to Becoming a Multi-Published Author and Sought-After Speaker.” If you want to send Donna a quick message, then visit her contact page here.

{Some of these links are affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through that link, the ministry may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your ministry support!}

One Night Lit the World (Advent, Week 3)

Have you ever been in a situation where you were too terrified to speak? Shocked into frozen immobility?

Imagine for a moment the night of Jesus’ birth from the shepherd’s point of view. Suddenly their peaceful, starry night sky lit up with the glory of the Lord! And if that wasn’t enough, then an angel of the Lord dropped in with a heavenly message.

Can you even imagine? No wonder the angel’s first words were, “Do not be afraid.”

That shekinah glory of the Lord that Luke records here refers to the splendor and brilliance that radiates from God’s very presence. Scripture tell us that the shekinah glory manifested in the pillars of cloud and fire that led the Israelites out of Egypt. It shone from the burning bush for Moses. It appeared in the brightness of the cloud at Jesus’s Transfiguration.

The glory of the Lord was quite an attention-grabbing, heart-stopping manifestation, indeed. It was a sign of both God’s nearness and His remoteness.

And the Levitical shepherds of Bethlehem were completely surrounded by it. After 400 years of God’s silence where His glory never visibly shone over His people, God made His mighty presence unmistakably known.

Though the shepherds were likely terrified, the angel’s announcement did not foreshadow gloom and destruction. He trumped the Good News that the Savior promised by God had finally arrived!

And the angel’s Good News was not limited to the shepherds, but intended for all people. Not just those who are good for goodness sake. It was the Good News of the Gospel that Jesus Christ had arrived into this world to save all who believe from eternal separation from Him.

God’s plan of salvation promised in the Garden of Eden had finally been put in motion that night. That one, extraordinary, life-giving night. And God tasked those shepherds to get the word out.

It was an announcement of great joy that we are privileged today to share with others — especially during this beautiful Advent season. It is God’s message of love, reflected in the innocent eyes of a Baby.

The shepherds didn’t realize that they would be hearing the heavenly announcement that night which would change the course of eternity. That it was a night like any other in all of history before or since.

Those stunned shepherds were privileged to be part of one extraordinary night that changed the history of the world and become bearers of a story full of wonder.

So, like the shepherds, the angel reminds us, “Do not be afraid.”
Don’t be afraid to receive the Good News.
Don’t be afraid to believe that it is for you.
Don’t be afraid to celebrate with great joy that your eternal address has changed from lost to found, because of the sheer grace and vast love of God almighty.

Joy to the world, the Lord has come!
Let earth receive her king.
Let every heart prepare Him room,
Let heaven and nature sing! 


We would be honored for you to join us on this life-changing tour.


The Lamb Wrapped in Swaddling Clothes (Advent, Week 2)

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. {Luke 2:6-7}

Knee deep grass covering the hills gently waved in the desert breeze as the sun rose over Bethlehem. My eyes strained to see Jerusalem, but it was too far away.

As our group made its way toward the Church of the Nativity (built over the place believed to be Jesus’ birthplace), we walked through a small, beautiful garden just beyond the courtyard colonnades. As we approached the church, I took a picture of this plaque hanging on the wall near the entrance.

Those words of John 1:14 brought tears to my eyes. Not simply because of the city in which I stood, but because of the meaning behind what I was reading: the Word became flesh.

A Child is Born

In the Hebrew culture of Mary’s day, a new mother usually remained secluded for forty days following the birth of a son. Then she would enter the tabernacle or temple to offer a sacrifice of purification (Leviticus 12:1-8; Luke 2:22).

Forty is a significant number throughout Scripture that usually symbolizes a period of testing or trial before bringing forth something new.

For instance, God caused rain to flood the earth for 40 days and nights before bringing forth Noah from the ark to a new beginning on dry land. Moses spent 40 days and nights on Mount Sinai before bringing forth God’s law to the people. The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years before God brought forth His people into the promised land. Jesus spent 40 days in the desert being tempted by the devil before bringing forth His earthly ministry.

What a blessing forty days of secluded peace must have been for a new mother to gaze uninterrupted on the gift of life. Feelings of wonder, awe and excitement often accompany a birth. Yet the process can be painful.

There is a letting go before embracing the new.

In God’s strength we let go of our imperfect dreams to embrace God’s perfect plan. Let go of past ambitions to welcome future blessings. Let go of life as it was to discover life as it unfolds. This letting go may take 40 days, 40 years, or a lifetime.

Yet birth evokes hope.

At Christmas we celebrate when God temporarily let go of His Son to birth His plan of redemption for all mankind. Mary’s natural birth was an emblem of new birth. That virgin birth brought forth the Light of hope into a dark world.

Love and hope birthed in a manger. 

Manger and Swaddling Clothes

That day in Bethlehem profoundly affected my spiritual journey. Gazing across the soft hillsides where such wonders occurred so long ago stirred my soul. I cannot wait to return there next year.

Yet perhaps that historic church does not mark the actual spot of Jesus’ birth.

Known as the “Tower of the Flock,” Migdal Eder was located just outside the city of Bethlehem (in Bethlehem’s suburbs, if you will). Migdal Eder was the tower from which Levitical shepherds carefully watched over the lambs on the hills around Bethlehem. The shepherds’ sole purpose was to raise unblemished (paschal) lambs that would be offered as sacrifices in the Jerusalem temple a few miles away.

Migdal Eder is first mentioned in Genesis 35:21 in the account of Rachel’s death after giving birth to Benjamin (Jacob’s youngest son). Then the prophet Micah also referred to Migdal Eder: “And you, O tower of the flock, … to you it shall come…the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.

Scripture tells us that Jesus was born in a manger, but it does not necessarily denote a dark and dirty cave near an overbooked inn. The definition of a manger (Luke 13:15, Proverbs 14:4) often means a stall or crib where animals are kept. Like that of Migdal Eder.

It was a settled question that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. In fact, according to Jewish tradition, the first revelation of the Messiah would come from Migdal Eder, in the vicinity of Bethlehem.

Why is that significant to the Christmas story?

As the sacrificial lambs were born, those Levitical shepherds in the Tower of the Flock would wrap them in birthing cloths to protect their unblemished state. So when the amazed shepherds (recorded in Luke 2) hurried to see the great wonder that the heavenly host proclaimed, they arrived to gaze upon a baby born in the place where Passover lambs were born, swaddled like a Passover lamb.

The spiritual significance would not have been lost on those Levitical shepherds: Jesus’ birth pointed to Jesus as the Messiah, the paschal lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

God did not make the message of redemption complicated or intimidating. He invited everyone to behold the sacrificial miracle of Christmas in the perfect face of His Son, the Lamb of God, wrapped in swaddling clothes.

As our group prepared to depart Bethlehem, dozens more groups arrived to view the church and experience the wonder. As I surveyed the blur of faces, I thought about the massive crowds that would have gathered to register in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago following Caesar Augustus’ decree.

As I recall the streets of Bethlehem filling with people, I ponder the significance and location of Migdal Eder, the Tower of the Flock.

The Lamb swaddled.

The Son sleeping.

Perhaps, just perhaps, God never intended there to be room in the inn.


We would be honored for you to join our tour. Information here.

Can Anything Good Come Out Of Nazareth? (Advent, Week 1)

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.” (Luke 2:4-5)

Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

That’s what Nathanael asked Philip in John 1:46 when Philip announced that they had found the One about whom Moses and the prophets wrote.

Rather than take offense at Nathanael’s skeptical question, Philip simply invited Nathanael, “Come and see.” Moments before, Jesus had invited Philip to follow Him. Now Philip invited Nathanael to see Jesus with his own eyes.

It comes down to inviting.

In the heart of today’s bustling City of Nazareth, the Church of Annunciation sits over the site believed to be Mary’s house. Originally built in the mid-4th century by Constantine, the church invites visitors to see the place where the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that God had chosen her to be the mother of the Messiah.

In Nazareth, Mary received a holy invitation to be a key player in an epic story that re-wrote history.

Christmas and invitations go hand in hand. God invites us to receive by faith the most priceless Gift ever given. You and I invite others to see the hope of the world reflected in the holy eyes of a Baby.

And then there was Bethlehem.

The word “Bethlehem” likely brings to mind nocturnal shepherds watching over their flocks. However, its meaning extends far beyond a pin on a map.

The word Bethlehem comes from two Hebrew words: (1) beth and (2) laham. Beth, roughly translated, means house. It does not necessarily denote a specific kind of building, but rather its function. Laham is a masculine noun which means bread (Genesis 18:5; Numbers 21:5). In fact, Leviticus 21:6 refers to laham as sacrificial bread.

So what is the significance? Bethlehem means House of Bread. What is a house of bread? A bakery. How did Jesus self-identify in John 6:35? “I am the bread of life.

Some may scoff and dismiss it as a cutesy coincidence that God introduced the Bread of Life to the world from a bakery. But wait. What is a bakery’s function? To provide food. Time and again Jesus fed the multitudes, both physically and spiritually. And the Word made flesh continues to feed us through Word and Sacrament today.

Advent is a time for us to praise God for the gift of the Bread of Life, who taught, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

Then there was Mary.

Mary’s betrothal time should have been filled with happy preparation for her new life as Joseph’s wife. Instead she grappled with the staggering news that she was pregnant. Not because their passion raged out of control, but pregnant like no other woman before or since ─ by the Holy Spirit.

A virgin conception? Incredulous at best, blasphemous at worst.

Yet Mary believed God’s angelic messenger. She trusted by faith and set the holy standard for surrender and submission: “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).

Even though people could legally stone her to death? Let it be.

Even though Joseph could divorce her? Let it be.

By God’s amazing grace, Mary’s womb carried the One who conquered our tomb. Let it be!

And finally there was Joseph.

Chosen by God among all men on earth to be the guardian of our Lord. In steadfast faith, Joseph believed God’s message in a dream. Unwavering, he stood by Mary when culture dictated that he shun her.

With relentless perseverance, Joseph traversed miles on foot to become a midwife on the fly. He followed Caesar Augustus’ census decree and registered with the lineage of David — from which would birth the Divine.

Joseph adopted the Father’s Son and safeguarded the Light of the world.

Mary and Joseph were handpicked by God to nurture the Cherished of God. They didn’t ask for it. They likely faced persecution over it. They could have given in to fear and trembling, yet God strengthens those who turn to Him in faith.

Even though God’s plan turned their quiet life chaotic, Mary bowed low to lift His praise high: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

So, can anything good come out of Nazareth?

Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)


Coming in 2019:

New 8-week DVD Bible study series based on the book of Nehemiah
(Published through Concordia Publishing House)

O Night Divine! Advent Devotions

This Sunday, December 2nd, begins our Advent season. The most wonderful time of the year!

Advent, from the Latin word for coming, initiates the church year. Even though you and I tend to think that Advent and Christmas wrap up the year, Advent celebrates the year Jesus’ earthly life began.

Advent focuses on Christ’s coming — past, present, and future. The past contained Old Testament prophecies that pointed to His birth at Bethlehem. The present focuses on His presence among us today through Word and Sacrament. And the future focuses on Christ’s second coming at the end of time.

Perhaps 2018 has been a banner year for you. Perhaps you are waving the surrender flag. Some years are filled with unforgettable memories; others are inundated with memories you’d rather forget.

Either way, Advent celebrates a beginning. 

As you begin Advent on Sunday, what is your prayer?

As we walk through these four weeks of Advent together focusing on Luke 2, my prayer is for you to see Christ and the significance of His birth with fresh eyes.

Beginner’s eyes, if you will.

I pray that you experience the wonder of Advent as we celebrate the coming of our Savior. And before 2019 rings in, I pray that you, like Mary, will treasure up all these things and ponder them in your heart (Luke 2:19).