"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Birth of Jesus
A Voice in the Wilderness
Luke 2:1-14(15-20) Commentary
by Karl Kuhn
This beautifully written account has inspired countless hymns, liturgies, works of art, and nearly every celebration of Jesus’ advent.
However, as important as this story has been to the church’s remembrance of Jesus’ birth, I wonder if most North American Christians today truly connect with the significance Luke intended it to express.
This story is much more than an eloquently told, romantic tale about Jesus’ birth that resources our Christmas programs, nativity scenes, and holiday cards. Luke scribed this story, and Luke’s first readers would have heard it as a bold, outlandish, even dangerous tale, about one whose birth shakes the very foundations of the world and whose life challenges all claims to power and authority.
Thus far in his gospel, Luke has been focusing on Israel and Jerusalem as the settings of the stories he tells. Now the purview of the narrative widens, for the one hailed by countless multitudes as Lord speaks his will to “all the world” (2:1). Caesar Augustus, the Roman Emperor, orders a census to be taken and his underlings, such as Quirinius, Governor of Syria, ...
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Summer 2020 Readings
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
Narrative Lectionary 107: Birth of Jesus
December 24, 2013
Join Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Kathryn Schifferdecker for "I Love to Tell the Story," a conversation on Year 4 of the narrative lectionary. This podcast covers the texts for Dec. 24, 2013, the Birth of Jesus: Luke 2:1-20 (or Luke 2:1-14). Accompanying reading: Psalm 96:7-10.