Lots of Christmas cards and illustrations show three kings, each carrying a gift, going to Bethlehem or arriving at the stable where Jesus was born. But those pictures are not accurate.

In the first place, those men were not kings. I guess during the Middle Ages it was assumed if they had such expensive gifts as gold and expensive spices they must have been royalty. And the Bible says they brought those three gifts but it doesn’t say there were three men. It was probably a group of Magi, or scholars, that came.

And the star in the east was actually stars that seemed to be in the same place so they shone brighter than usual. Astronomers say an incident like that happened at about the time of Jesus’ birth. And the ‘star’ didn’t move across the sky. It appeared in the astrological sign of the House of David, so the wise men would have travelled hundreds of miles to get to Jerusalem. They would have seen the star every night no matter how far they travelled from their homeland, so it may have seemed to them that it was moving across the sky.

And they didn’t find Jesus in a stable. According to the Bible, they found Mary, Joseph, and the baby in a house, probably several days after Jesus had been born.

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Janet Ann Collins