Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas in the Gospels

On this first Sunday in Advent I read all of the Bible birth stories and not that 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 Mark was all of 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.  King 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 comes 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. In Luke 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. John is all about God’s side of the story.

Since the first century Christians have combined Matthew and Luke birth narratives and added many human traditions about the story that are not in the bible text. Just where did that drummer boy come from?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Larry,
    The quick answer, of course is that "The Little Drummer Boy" was written by Katherine Davis in 1941 but I think the reason the song is so popular is that it speaks the immensely powerful truth that if we only give Jesus what we are capable of giving, no matter how insignificant it may appear on the surface, He will be absolutely delighted that we have done so. So many people want to believe this. I do.