Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas in the Gospels

Each of the Gospels portrays the events of Christmas differently.

The Gospel According to Mark ignores it all together. That Gospel starts with the Baptism. Even if this was all the Gospel I had I could be a Christian.

The Gospel According to Matthew has an angel visiting Joseph to inform him what he must do. Joseph is apparently living in Bethlehem. He is told that the child shall be called  “Emmanuel” but he names the boy Jesus. After that the “wise men” from the East show up to honor the new king of the Jews. Joseph is warned in a dream to flee to Egypt.  Ken Herod has boys under the age of two in Bethlehem killed. After Herod’s death Joseph moves to Nazareth.

The Gospel According to Luke starts with the story of the birth of John the Baptist who is apparently a relative of Jesus. Here in Luke the angel come to Mary to announce the startling news that she will conceive with out the help of a male and bear a son. She goes to visit her relative Elizabeth for three months. Here Mary and Joseph live in Nazareth and go to Bethlehem to register for a Roman tax. That was a rough trip for a pregnant woman. Luke has humble shepherds’ come to visit Jesus. They take Jesus to the temple where to prophets Simon and Anna proclaim him the one. After all that the family returns to Nazareth with no detours.  

In the Gospel According to John what we have of the Christmas story is all from the point of view of heaven “The Word” became flesh and dwelt among us.

Since then Christians have combined Matthew and Luke and added many traditions about the story that are not in the bible text.

1 comment:

  1. Evolution’s gift is a complex brain that endows humanity with free will, enabling personal moral responsibilities towards our neighbour and towards God. We are not puppets. God’s gift at Christmas is forgiveness and new life through Christ for those who realise how far we’ve fallen from using that free will responsibly.