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12 Surprising Christmas Bible Facts for Kids

Christmas has become so commercialized that children are often confused about what is part of the Christmas story and what is myth or fable.  Most children know about Jesus being born in a manger, but many think that Santa Claus was there too!  Below are some Christmas Bible facts for kids that will help make clear what Christmas celebrations are from the Bible.  

In the entire Bible, the birth of Jesus is only told in two places, so all Christmas Bible Facts for Kids comes from these sources.   The first is Matthew 1 & 2, and the second is Luke 1&2.  Luke 2:8-16 is the beautifully written passage about angels appearing to the shepherds outside of Jerusalem.  It is included in many Christmas performances and will keep most kids on the edge of their seats—hence it is a great thing to read in Sunday School!   

Along with that special reading, here are some interesting Christmas Bible facts for kids that you can present:

  1. Joseph was Mary’s husband, but he was not Jesus’ father!  God was.  However, Joseph was a descendant of King David.
  2. John the Baptist wasn’t just born as Jesus’ friend. He was Jesus’ cousin!   Mary’s cousin Elizabeth gave birth to John the Baptist about six months before Jesus was born.
  3. Jesus and Mary did not live in Bethlehem.  Mary was from Nazareth.  The couple went to Bethlehem because the law said they had to take part in a census, where every man had to return to the place of his birth.  Mary went with him.
  4. Jesus was born in a manger because there was something like a convention in town!  The census had brought all sorts of people into Bethlehem and the inns were all filled up.    
  5. Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes.  It was a tradition back then to wrap all babies in strips of cloth to help straighten and strengthen their bodies. 
  6. The shepherds saw Jesus that very night.  The angels told them that the baby had just been born, and they came to manger behind the inn like the angels told them to. 
  7. The wise men probably did not visit Jesus until later.  Some traditions say that it may have been up to two years later that the wise men came and that for some reason, Mary and Joseph stayed in Bethlehem that whole time.  The reference to the wise men seeing Jesus in Matthew 2:11 says they found him in a “house.”
  8. The wise men were called Magi in the Bible.  Magi was the Greek word for “magic,” but the term meant a very wise person who understood astrology, chemistry and philosophy.  
  9. Before visiting Jesus, the Magi duped Herod, the evil king!  The Magi came to Herod when they were looking for Jesus.  Herod said he thought the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem and to report back to him where Jesus was.  He said he wanted to worship Jesus, but really he wanted to kill him. (He was afraid of Jesus taking his place as king someday).  The wise men sneaked out of Jerusalem and never let Herod know!
  10. The Wise men gave Jesus gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  Gold is a symbol of both royalty and purity.  Frankincense is a symbol of suffering.  Myrrh is a symbol of worship and holiness.
  11. There were a lot of angels visiting during that time!   Elizabeth’s husband Zecharia was visited by Gabriel, the famous angel, who then visited Mary.  Gabriel told of the blessed sons which would come to both Mary and Elizabeth.  The night of Jesus’ birth, shepherds outside of Bethlehem were visited first by an angel, and then by a whole host of angels that sang!  
  12. There was a lot of dreaming going on!  Joseph dreamed he saw an angel who told him to marry Mary even though she was already pregnant.  The Magi dreamed they should not return to Herod, who was plotting evil.  Joseph dreamed he should take Jesus and Mary to Egypt so that Herod couldn’t kill the baby.      

Christmas was a suspenseful yet wonderful, God-ordained time of history as these Christmas Bible facts and many others will attest.  You can use them in trivia games, art projects, performances…or just have fun sharing the Bible facts about Christmas with your kids!