Last week Alisa Childers posted a video about 5 alternative facts from the Christmas story that she believes that people get wrong. For the most part, her information was accurate. I didn’t have any major beefs with what she said. However, I felt that she left out many important details. Hence, I made the video above in response to her video below. I offer both of the videos here so that one can watch them both and come to their own conclusions. So here they are, the alternative facts of Christmas.
For those of you who don’t wish to watch the videos I will briefly explain my premise below.
The birth narratives in the books of Matthew and Luke are completely inconsistent with each other. Furthermore, it is my assertion that the narratives are completely irreconcilable with each other. If the story happened the way that it is presented in the book of Matthew, it couldn’t possibly have happened in the manner that Luke lays out the story in his book. I appreciate her use of the term “Alternative Facts”, because this is literally what we see here. 2 versions of the same story focused around an alternative set of facts. Here are the contradictions. The stories can be found in Matthew chapters 1 and 2, and in Luke 2. Here are the contradictions.
|Matthew sets the birth in the reign of Herod the Great. We know this because in the story, Herod dies and is replaced by his son Archelaus. Herod died in 4BC, so this would put the birth at roughly 6 or 5 BC.||Luke sets the birth in the time when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Quirinius became governor after Archelaus was deposed in 6 AD. Hence, Jesus is born 10 years later in Luke than in Matthew.|
|In Matthew, the family is from Bethlehem. Hence, Jesus is born in his home town and stays there for around 2 years, before the family escapes to Egypt to avoid Herod’s slaughter of the innocents.||Luke says the family originated in Nazareth. They traveled to Bethlehem for the census under Quirinius. Jesus was born while they where there. After a 40 day purification period, they visited the temple in Jerusalem before returning to Nazareth.|
|Matthew records no visitors at the time of Jesus’ birth, but rather has the Magi visiting probably about 2 years after the birth of Jesus.||Luke has shepherds and angels visiting the birth place of Jesus, which was most likely at a family members house in Bethlehem.|
Historically speaking, it’s impossible that Jesus could have been born both in the reign of Herod the Great, and the governorship of Quirinius since these eras didn’t overlap. However, if you have found a way to reconcile any of these other contradictory events, I would be interested in seeing your explanation in the comments below.