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Quiz about Away in a Manger
Quiz about Away in a Manger

Away in a Manger Trivia Quiz


Last year my favorite Christmas gift was a lovely set of figurines for a Nativity scene, which we set up during Advent this year. The set raised some interesting questions about this tradition. (All quotations are from the KJV.)

A photo quiz by looney_tunes. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
looney_tunes
Time
5 mins
Type
Photo Quiz
Quiz #
390,302
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
8 / 10
Plays
1122
Awards
Top 5% quiz!
Last 3 plays: Guest 97 (2/10), Southendboy (0/10), Guest 67 (7/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. This French decoupage kit allows you to set up your own paper Nativity scene. It shows a number of different figures that you can include: the Holy Family, an angel, some sheep (and maybe goats), some men bearing gifts, shepherds, and a couple of women. If you want to decide which of these figures belongs in a Biblically-accurate representation of the birth of Jesus, which New Testament books should you consult? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. My Nativity set shows the Holy Family in a wooden stable, while this German Nativity scene shows them in a cave. Both are commonly seen as the location of the manger in which Jesus was lain after His birth. Does the Bible offer any evidence as to the location of this manger?


Question 3 of 10
3. Many Nativity sets show the roof of the stable, and possibly the ground around it, as covered in snow. Is this historically accurate?


Question 4 of 10
4. Many Nativity scenes include animals, particularly a donkey and one or more oxen. While the Gospels do not mention any animals, it makes sense they would be in a place where a manger is located. The choice of animals to include is probably based on a prophecy from what Old Testament book? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. Mary is traditionally shown in religious art as wearing blue (or blue and white) robes. What color were her clothes most likely to have been? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. According to the Bible, some local shepherds heard the news of the birth of Jesus from a heavenly source. According to Luke (KJV), what is the name of the angel responsible for delivering this message? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. Many Nativity scenes include angels flying around the site of the manger. Where in the Bible is this described? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. This Provencale Crèche has a number of unusual features, including the starfish on top of the stable. What traditional feature is it most likely to be representing? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. As is common in many Nativity displays, the magi are shown here arriving at the stable. Which of these facts do Biblical scholars use to support their belief that the magi arrived significantly later than the night of Jesus' birth? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. Many Nativity scenes do not confine themselves to that single event, but have multiple tableaux depicting other events from Jesus' infancy, as described in the Gospels. Which such event is depicted here? Hint



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Most Recent Scores
Jun 14 2024 : Guest 97: 2/10
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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. This French decoupage kit allows you to set up your own paper Nativity scene. It shows a number of different figures that you can include: the Holy Family, an angel, some sheep (and maybe goats), some men bearing gifts, shepherds, and a couple of women. If you want to decide which of these figures belongs in a Biblically-accurate representation of the birth of Jesus, which New Testament books should you consult?

Answer: Matthew and Luke

Luke and Matthew are the only two gospels that recount the birth of Jesus. Mark and John leap straight into the action, dealing with John the Baptist and the start of Jesus' ministry. Luke 2 includes the elements of the Nativity which are most commonly included in Nativity plays, while Matthew 2 is where we learn about the Magi.

While the Biblical accounts do not mention the townspeople who are included in this paper Nativity scene, it stands to reason that there would have been plenty of them around.

After all, there was no room in the inn due to the travelers in town for the census, so the place was far from isolated!
2. My Nativity set shows the Holy Family in a wooden stable, while this German Nativity scene shows them in a cave. Both are commonly seen as the location of the manger in which Jesus was lain after His birth. Does the Bible offer any evidence as to the location of this manger?

Answer: No

Matthew simply says He was born in Bethlehem, and Luke, after explaining why they were in Bethlehem, says that Mary's child was born while they were there, and she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes (tightly wrapped in something resembling a baby blanket) and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room at the inn. None of the dramatic scenes so popular in school Nativity plays in which the innkeeper bars the door and sends them on their way! Tradition holds that the manger was located in a cave, on the site of which the Church of the Nativity was constructed in the 4th century CE. Nevertheless, many Nativity sets show the more aesthetically-pleasing wooden stable.
3. Many Nativity sets show the roof of the stable, and possibly the ground around it, as covered in snow. Is this historically accurate?

Answer: No

First of all, the information that can be gleaned from Biblical accounts makes it highly unlikely that Jesus was even born during winter. The shepherds would not be expected to be spending the night in the field with their flocks at that time of year - that practice is more common at lambing season, in the spring. Secondly, while winters in the area of Bethlehem are cold, they are not snowy.

The inclusion of snow in many Nativity sets is related to the fact that Christmas is celebrated in the middle of winter for those who live in the Northern hemisphere, and many residents of Europe and North America associate snow with that season. Nativity scenes in other parts of the world often show a scenery appropriate for their location.

It doesn't seem to matter much what it was actually likely to be like in Bethlehem at the time!
4. Many Nativity scenes include animals, particularly a donkey and one or more oxen. While the Gospels do not mention any animals, it makes sense they would be in a place where a manger is located. The choice of animals to include is probably based on a prophecy from what Old Testament book?

Answer: Isaiah

The Book of Isaiah made a number of prophecies about a Messiah who would be sent to the Jews, and the early Christian writers took pains to show how Jesus was clearly that Messiah. This led to a number of traditions, not all Biblical in origin, that supported that stance. Isaiah 1:3 says, "The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider." So the ox is traditionally included as the animal for whom the manger was probably originally intended, and the donkey that Mary is traditionally said to have ridden (she was nine months pregnant, and it was a fair hike) is also part of the scene.

The Gospels do not actually make any reference to animals around the manger.
5. Mary is traditionally shown in religious art as wearing blue (or blue and white) robes. What color were her clothes most likely to have been?

Answer: Light brown or grey

Blue and purple dyes were very expensive, and reserved for the wealthy. Red was much cheaper, which is why that color was used for the uniforms of Roman soldiers. But everyday clothing for ordinary people was generally undyed, so had the color of the flax or wool from which it was made. Mary is traditionally shown in blue clothes to convey homage to her as the Queen of Heaven and Earth (in the Roman Catholic tradition in which most classical artists worked).
6. According to the Bible, some local shepherds heard the news of the birth of Jesus from a heavenly source. According to Luke (KJV), what is the name of the angel responsible for delivering this message?

Answer: No name is given

Luke 2:9-12 describes one angel (no name given) telling the shepherds that they need to go to Bethlehem to find their saviour, and giving instructions on how to recognise him. Verses 13 and 14 state that a host of angels joins the original messenger, "Praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." After they disappear, the shepherds decide they'd better go check it out.
7. Many Nativity scenes include angels flying around the site of the manger. Where in the Bible is this described?

Answer: It isn't

In fact, Luke (the only source that places angels anywhere in the vicinity) explicitly says that the angels had gone away before the shepherds decided to go into town and look for the manger in which Jesus lay. However, because they are an important part of the story of the events, they are often shown as being present.

The Nativity scenes often try to incorporate all of the elements of the story, in a condensed rather than realistic, representation.
8. This Provencale Crèche has a number of unusual features, including the starfish on top of the stable. What traditional feature is it most likely to be representing?

Answer: The star that led the magi on their journey

The fact that there is only one, and it is perched on the stable roof in the position many Nativity scenes show a star, suggests that it is indeed representing the star that the magi had followed in their voyage from the east. After they had unwittingly let Herod know of the birth of the King of the Jews, and he ascertained that this would have taken place in Bethlehem, they continued on their way, and "lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was." (Matthew 2:9) (The wording that they saw it in the east can be confusing - it is clear from reading the entire passage that they came from the east, having seen it while they were in the east; they did not travel eastwards while they followed it, as some people mistakenly think.)

The other unusual features of this Crèche include: a woman appears to be carrying the infant Jesus (on her head) towards His parents; there are many more townspeople around than is usual, many bearing homely gifts; there are several musicians, including a little drummer boy near the right edge of the scene; there appears to be some kind of white seaweed on the branches of one of the trees near the stable, and a huge fishing net seems to be lying behind and under the display.
9. As is common in many Nativity displays, the magi are shown here arriving at the stable. Which of these facts do Biblical scholars use to support their belief that the magi arrived significantly later than the night of Jesus' birth?

Answer: All of these reasons are proposed as evidence

While Luke 2 makes it clear that the shepherds arrived on the night of Jesus' birth, Matthew 2 makes it clear that the magi arrived some time later. Exactly how much later is a matter of debate! We also do not know how many of them there were - the use of the plural word magi means there were at least two, and tradition often describes them as the Three Wise Men (or the Three Kings); that number, however, is based on the fact that they are described (in Matthew 2:11) as bringing three different (and highly symbolic) gifts. But one person can carry more than one gift, and possibly there were more magi who either did not bring gifts, or who carried more of the same. The elephant in this scene is definitely not reported in the Bible!

In many homes, the Nativity scene is set up in stages. When I was a child, we set the stable in place at the start of Advent, and the shepherds with their flocks nearby. The figures of Mary and Joseph were set up in a far part of the room, and moved a bit closer each day. On Christmas Eve Mary and Joseph arrived at the stable, and on Christmas morning Jesus was in the manger (although I suspect my mother placed the figure after we went to bed, not early in the morning - she was not an earlybird), with the shepherds and sheep gathered around. That day the magi were set up in another distant corner of the room, and they progressed daily, arriving on January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany.
10. Many Nativity scenes do not confine themselves to that single event, but have multiple tableaux depicting other events from Jesus' infancy, as described in the Gospels. Which such event is depicted here?

Answer: Flight into Egypt

According to Matthew 2:13, as soon as the magi had departed, an angel warned Joseph that Jesus was in danger, and advised him to take the family to Egypt to escape the Slaughter of the Innocents which Herod was about to carry out. They stayed in Egypt until Herod had died, and an angel gave them the all-clear to return home. Herod the Great was in his seventies at the time, and apparently did not live long, so experts trying to determine the year of Jesus' birth have based their suggestions on the year in which Herod died. This has been traditionally held to be in 4 BCE, based on the writings of Josephus. However, some argue that the (admittedly fragmentary) evidence makes 1 BCE a more likely date.

The voyage to Bethlehem took place before the birth of Jesus, so could not be the trip depicted here. The Presentation at the Temple involved a temple visit, not a ride on a donkey - it is usually shown, if included as a scene, as an interior setting, with the parents carrying turtle doves. Jesus was baptised as an adult, at the start of his ministry, by John the Baptist.
Source: Author looney_tunes

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