Sunday, December 21, 2008

Nativity Quiz

Living Nativity at the Christkindl Market

Here is a Christmas quiz I have given to 5th and 6th graders in Sunday School for the past twenty years. We do it for fun and the children think it is easy until they see their marks. I failed it when it was first given to me as a young adult.

Most aspects of our Christmas celebration are based on traditions which have come through time from many cultures. The Bible does mention the birth of Christ in two of the gospels, but there is no evidence that the early church celebrated the nativity. They did celebrate the resurrection every week, an event far more meaningful to the Christian faith.

Jesus almost certainly was not born in December but the celebration of his birth was set centuries later by the church to give an alternate meaning to ancient pagan celebrations around the winter solstice. I enjoy many aspects of Christmas and believe any holiday that focuses on family, peace, goodwill, and the birth of a Saviour is worthwhile. But I will not get drawn into an irrelevant argument about whether to name a decorated tree a Holiday Tree or a Christmas Tree.

So here is the quiz on the facts of the nativity as described in the gospels. All answers are found in the Bible and you can look up the answers as you go along if necessary.

1. Joseph was from:
a) Bethlehem
b) Jerusalem
c) Nazareth
d) Egypt

2. Mary and Joseph travelled to Bethlehem by
a) Camel
b) Donkey
c) Walked
d) We don't know

3. The innkeeper told Mary and Joseph...
a) I have a stable you can use
b) There is no room at the inn
c) Both (a) and (b)
d) None of the above

4. Which animals were present at Jesus' birth?
a) Cows, sheep, goats
b) Cows, donkeys, sheep
c) Many barnyard animals
d) None are mentioned

5. Who saw the star in the east?
a) Shepherds
b) Mary and Joseph
c) The Wise Men
d) Everyone

6. How many angels spoke to the shepherds?
a) One
b) Three
c) A Multitude

7. What sign did the angels tell the shepherds to look for?
a) A star over Bethlehem
b) A baby that doesn't cry
c) A baby in a stable
d) A baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger

8. What did the angels sing?
a) Joy to the World
b) Alleluia
c) Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given
d) Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will to men

9. How many wise men came to visit Jesus? ________

10. The wise men found Jesus in a
a) manger
b) stable
c) house
d) a good mood

11. The wise men stopped in Jerusalem
a) To inform Herod about Jesus
b) To find out where Jesus was
c) To buy presents for Jesus

12. Who told Mary and Joseph to go to Bethlehem?
a) The angel
b) Mary's mother
c) Herod
d) Caesar Augustus

13. Joseph took baby Jesus to Egypt
a) To show him the pyramids
b) To be put in a basket in the river
c) Because he dreamed of it
d) To be taxed

14. Where do we find the Christmas story to check the answers to these questions?
a) Matthew
b) Mark
c) Luke
d) John
e) All of the above
f) Matthew and Luke
g) Mark and John

Answers: 1(c), 2(d), 3(d), 4(d), 5(c), 6(a), 7(d), 8(d), 9(we don't know), 10(c), 11(b), 12(d), 13(c), 14(f)


  1. That's a terrific post.

  2. Anonymous5:08 am GMT-5

    Well, I took the test and I should be ashamed of myself. I was sure that I would know most of the answers. Man did I get an eye opener! I thought to some songs that are popular at this time of year for answers as well. Now I wonder how true to the story the songs are? Always trust the bible!

    Love the donkey he looks like the one on the farm - RadarLove, very cute fellow.

  3. Great quiz Ruth! Some real trick questions in terms of what is told and what has become "the story." :c)

  4. Excellent post. I'm especially interested in the question #9 in fact. I've always asked that one myself.

    I'm here from Mary's Writing Nook and happy to meet you.

    Oh.......and the deer in the photo below, in your previous post, is awesome.

  5. I didn't do too well -- 8/14.

  6. Anonymous3:36 pm GMT-5

    I haven't been in Sunday school for a very long time, but when I went, it was all taught by nuns and they had rulers and were not afraid to use them. Ouch....

  7. Jean- Thanks!

    Cheryl- The donkeys were very cute. I was shocked at how badly I did on this quiz. In my mind, I knew the stories inside out, but I really just knew the traditional telling of the Christmas story.

    Jayne- The Bible doesn't give a whole lot of details. There very likely were animals around, it just doesn't say that.

    Hootin' Annie- Thanks for visiting. Mary mentions you frequently on her blog. The wise men brought three gifts. I would imagine there were more than three of them.

    AC- That is a pretty impressive score for this quiz! I had one young girl who was very angry with the answers. She planned to ask her mother to set me straight on the Christmas story.

    RW- That is not a pleasant Sunday School memory. I had a first grade teacher who has a ruler and used it too. I was terrified of her.

  8. I must admit that I got out my Bible to check the answer to #10. I remembered the verse about the shepherds finding the babe in a manger and assumed the Wise Men did too. I was surprised to learn that Matthew clearly states they found Him in a house.

    Very interesting quiz.

  9. I did just OK on the quiz - got 9 out of 14. I should have known that it was not mentioned how Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem. I also should have known/remembered that nothing was mentioned about the innkeeper saying anything to Mary and Joseph. And in my haste I had answered that there was a multitude of angels telling the shepherds, and I should have known better. Thanks for the quiz, Ruth; a good reminder of what is actually written. And a blessed Christ-filled Christmas to you and your family.

  10. Hi Mary and NCMW- Glad you tried the quiz. 9/14 is a really good mark! Matthew and Luke tell two different stories which occurred at different times. The wise men, however many there were, did not come until Jesus was a young child and had moved to a house. However, storytellers have merged the two accounts into one event.


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