How Accurate is Your Manger Scene?
Reverend C.W. Powell of Trinity Covenant Reformed Church in Colorado Springs, CO, offers some interesting thoughts on the timing of the shepherds’ and wise men’s visits . . .
I suggest that indeed the Wise Men might very well have come to the manger shortly after the shepherds. Why? Luke says that after the dedication of Jesus at 8 days old, the family returned to their own city, which was Nazareth [Luke 1:26]. It is unlikely that a poor carpenter would have taken lodging in a house in Bethlehem when he didn't know anyone and had to stay in a stable when he first came. More likely, I think, they were on their way back home to Nazareth [their own city], when the message from God intercepted them and they fled to Egypt, returning to Nazareth after a period of time.
That Herod ordered all children under two killed might simply mean he cast a wide net. What are a few more babies if you are in the killing mood? It is what is called a safety factor. [Build the bridge to carry much more weight than you expect]. That the wise men came to a "house" might only mean that they came where Joseph and Mary were dwelling, ie the stable. The word can bear that meaning.
I won't die on this hill, but I won't be critical the next time I see a manger scene with shepherds and wise men mingling together with sheep and a light in the sky. [the light, not the sheep].
O yes, the Angels sang to the shepherds, also. I know Matthew says "saying," but Revelation 5:9 reports that the elders "sang a new song, saying..." [It is fun to wound two sacred cows in one post].