Bible Activity/Discussion, Origins

Did three wise men really visit Jesus?

The birth of Christ is wrapped up in folklore and tradition (man’s) and marketed to the world as Christmas. The nativity scene takes the center of attention in window displays, schools and offices, often misleading believers.

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The Nativity Scene Origin

The first nativity scene was created in 1223 in Greccio, central Italy by Saint Francis of Assisi. It is said to represent the true “spirit” of Christmas. However, many depictions of Jesus’s birth are filled with inaccuracies and it conflicts with the true Biblical account. We often see the little family, three wise men, sometimes a shepherd or two, a few animals, huddled around a newborn, the scene illuminated by the light of a lone star. Pretty wonderful and harmonic, right? But this is most unlikely.

Why can’t we be satisfied with the Biblical account? The true account?

The visiting Wise Men 

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The wise men came from the east to see the infant after following a star (Matthew 2:2). Magi or wise men originally referred to a class of priests from Persia. They were said to be students of astrology, hence why they noticed the strange star, to begin with, and followed it.

It’s unclear how many wise men were there as the Bible doesn’t speculate, but because they brought three gifts – gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11) –  it’s assumed that it was three wise men. It could’ve been two wise men bringing those gifts. It could’ve been as much as five, six or even ten wise men.

Manger or house?

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We’re told that the wise men visited Jesus in the stable while He was in a manger. Luke 2:8-20 shows that the shepherds who were watching over their flock in the field by night were given the news of Jesus’s birth by angels and they visited Jesus as He lay in a manger. It’s most likely that they saw the newborn Savoir before the Magi. And it’s no coincidence that the angels broke the news to the shepherds first, for it foreshadowed Christ as the good Shepherd.

In Matthew 2:11, by the time the wise men arrive, Mary and Joseph are not in a stable, but in a house. It’s likely that it took the wise men, days, months or even a few years to arrive on the scene.

The gifts the Wise Men brought.

The Magi brought three significant gifts that bore spiritual meanings. 

Gold recognizes Jesus as the King of Kings and the great High Priest. The Magi acknowledged that they were in the presence of a King. Gold was highly valued by kings as we see with Solomon in 2 Chronicles 9:20. Gold was also woven into the fabric of the high priest (Exodus 28). 

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Frankincense recognizes Him as the perfect Lamb sacrifice and it has a wonderful fragrance. It was used for making incense (Exodus 30:34), was an ingredient in sacrifices (Leviticus 2:1-2) and it was also an ingredient in perfumes (Song of Solomon 3:6; 4:14).

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Myrrh recognizes His death and resurrection. It was first mentioned in Genesis 37:25 where it was carried by camels in a caravan. It was used for burial embalming (John 19:39), as an ingredient in anointing oil (Exodus 30:23-25) and as a perfume (Song of Solomon 1:13; 3:6; 4:6, 14; 5:1, 5, 13). It was also used in Jesus’ burial (John 19:39).

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The frankincense and myrrh trees are cut and bruised to bleed out the resin to use for healing, perfumes, incense, and anointing. Do you see the spiritual symbolism when it comes to Christ, Who suffered and shed His blood for humanity? By His stripes, we’re healed!

In conclusion

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Matthew is the only Gospel writer that mentions the wise men visiting Christ after His birth. The account states that after Jesus’s birth, the wise men visit King Herod to inquire about Jesus’s actual location. However, Herod doesn’t have a clue though he’s troubled, and seeks the services of the wise men to locate the newborn Savior under the guise of wanting to worship Him. After leaving Jerusalem, the wise men see a star, follow it, and comes to worship the King of Kings in a house and not in a stable.

The Magi read and believed God’s Word, they sought Jesus, recognized His worth, and humbled themselves before Him in worship. We should come into God’s house with such reverence when we’re in His presence.

This is the account that is given in Matthew 2:1-12. The Bible doesn’t mention how many Magi (even if there was really 3) so we shouldn’t take away or add to the Word.

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Books & Reviews 📚

꧁ TBR Book Tag ꧂

Madame Writer always discovers the best book tags around and although I’m not as invested in books as I used to be, I couldn’t let the TBR Book Tag pass me by! Let’s do… wait, let me grab a coffee first… okay, let’s do this!

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How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

I actually don’t. I used to keep a notebook, now, I read whenever the impulse to do so kicks in and when I do, I choose a book at random.

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Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?

The printed format suits me better as I’ll devour it faster than an E-book!

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How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

Refer to Q. 1.

A book that’s been on your TBR list the longest

This book:

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And this one:

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There are others that have been in my TBR even longer, but every time I look at the bookshelf, I keep wondering why I haven’t read those books as yet. The first one was a gift; the second one I bought when I was going through my lawyer phase.

Hopefully, I’ll get to them sooner rather than later.

A book recently added to your TBR

Alex is some kind of wonderful, intelligent mathematical sciencey genius who makes cooking look easy. I used to watch his YouTube channel (Alex French Guy Cooking), so when I saw his book, I had to get it.

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I love how he experiments with food and cooking methods. I love it when he goes in-depth into a technique as he demystifies (or complicate) cooking. He made me appreciate food chemistry. The best part of his cooking journey? He was self-taught. 😄

A book in your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover

Beautiful? What even is that?

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Okay, you caught me. I bought like 4 books because of their pretty shiny covers, but to keep them strictly in my TBR? A no-no. I already read them and passed them on to new owners. 

A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading

I’ve gotten rid of a lot of books I don’t ever plan on reading recently, so I guess it’s safe to say that I plan to read what’s left of my TBR.

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An Unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for

I am not excited about books anymore for they end up being disappointments as authors are forgetting how to author and expectations end up shattering like a favorite tea or coffee cup.

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However, I’ll like to get my hands on a copy of Antoine Griezmann’s freshly printed manga Goal

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A book on your TBR that basically everyone’s read but you

A few years ago, I got this really awesome book “The Greater Journey: Americans In Paris” on sale at my favorite bookstore. One year later after the purchase, it starts trending everywhere even on Twitter! And I was like, “I’ve got that book and I’ll read it soon!” It still sits on my bookshelf to this day sadly wasting away.

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A book on your TBR everyone recommends to you

I don’t recommend books anymore – unless it’s the Bible – so I don’t take recommendations from anyone for every time someone recommends a book to me, I end up disliking it greatly… I don’t know why. However, there is one book that people kept recommending to me because I used to read voraciously and that is “Evening Class” by Maeve Binchy. I have no idea what it’s about for I want it to be a surprise read.

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A book on your TBR you’re dying to read

Did Lestat ask this question? The brat!

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How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

I don’t do Goodreads. I live my TBR life through the bookshelf in my room and I refuse to count how many books left to read – over 300 I guess – but I’ll inform you when I get to 20.

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If you’re up to do this challenge, feel free to and don’t forget to check out Madame Writer’s entry here:

The TBR Book Tag

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✈ Travel Tuesday ✈

Instagram’s Favorite Street! 🇫🇷

With its candy-coated pastel houses and weathered cobblestones, it’s easy to see why Rue Crémieux is a HUGE hit on Instagram. This car-free backstreet is the most Instagramable street in Paris, much to the annoyance of the locals. 

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Photo via aei-voyage.be

While the picturesque street in the 12th arrondissement is garnering a lot of attention, tourists also have to be mindful of the residents.

BACK STORY

The one-block pedestrian street was originally built as workers’ housing in 1857. From 1865-1898, it was known as Rue Millaud. It was renamed for Adolphe Crémieux, a French lawyer and politician. During the catastrophic Crue de la Seine de 1910 (1910 Great Flood of Paris), water from the Seine reached as high as 1.75 meters on one of the buildings. In 1993, the street was closed to vehicles.

TODAY

We live in a self-absorbed world. With the hashtag #ruecremieux now linking to over 31,000 images on Instagram, Rue Crémieux might be a paradise for Instagrammers, but they’ve taken away the residents’ privacy. They used to be able to take their tables outside to have lunch, but now, they can’t do so with yoga aficionados, dance sessions, and fashion shoots blocking their doorways. The residents are okay with people taking photos, but they’ve demanded that the city of Paris to protect their privacy by closing the street to visitors on evenings and weekends which is fair enough. Imagine looking out your window and seeing this:

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Dimanche 💃 #paris #ballet #streetdance

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Or this:

And this:

And even this:

It’s a beautiful street, but it’s rude to disturb the peace and snatch away privacy. Some even go as far as recording residents leaving their homes. People are sheep, literally, and when they see something goes viral online, they want to do it, too. You travel to experience, not to take pretentious photos of yourself.

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