The past few days I read a number of interesting articles on line. One UK article interviewed the Archbishop of Canterbury who told us that that Christmas was a legend. Well I have to tell you that caught my interest!
As I read the article I realized that the Archbishop was referring to things that the Christians have added over the centuries.
“What additions?” you ask.
Well, we don’t know for sure what animals were in the stable if any. But we can assume that there would be cattle, or oxen, sheep or even a donkey.
We also don’t know how many wise men there were. We do know that they gave gifts of three different substances (gold, frankincense and myrrh).
The wise men didn’t show up at the birth of Christ but probably a couple of years later. The passage in Matthew’s account of the wise men’s visit indicates that Jesus was no longer a baby but a young child. Additionally due to Herod’s order to kill all male children two years of age and under we gain a sense of the outside possible age of Jesus.
What do we know?
Jesus the Christ was born and we have three accounts of His birth. We call those accounts Matthew, Luke and John. These accounts are called gospels (good news).
Matthew looks at Jesus’ birth from the Jewish perspective. Jesus is seen as a direct descendant of David the founder of the dynasty of the nation of Israel (and the subsequent kingdom of Judah). Matthew lists Joseph (who would be Jesus’ “human” father because Joseph was married to Mary when Jesus was born and therefore by law the father of Jesus) genealogy and Jesus lawful right to the throne.
In Luke we have the second account of Jesus birth. This time we see him from the perspective of a man. We also are given His mother’s genealogy. This is important for a couple of reasons: first, we have Jesus’ ancestry that goes back to Adam and establishes His claim to David’s throne through His mother’s line. Second, God promised that one particular King of David’s line would never have a son sit on the throne again and Joseph was from this line. Thus God keeps His promise even while keeping the official line in tack.
In John’s Gospel we have the story of Jesus birth from God’s perspective. The Word who always was and is of the same essence as God the Father becomes flesh to do the Father’s bidding and to redeem all of creation.
Each account of Jesus’ birth gives us the story from a different perspective. Think of the truth of Christ’s birth as a multifaceted jewel. Each time you turn the gem slightly you see the gem and the fire of the gem from a different angle and thus from a different perception.
May the Creator who became the Created in order to redeem His Creation grant you a blessed and joyous Christmas this year!
Peace on earth