Moses by John August Swanson. Image from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, Tenn. Original source © 1983 by John August Swanson.
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Luke 2:8-20 Commentary
by Shelly Matthews
Many parents hearing this scripture read on Christmas day have come to regard their own child as gifted -- a gifted reader, a math whiz, a soccer talent, a genius on the piano.
These children have achieved this special status, aided by access to fine schools, computer programs on personal iPads, special coaching, private lessons. But what was it like for Mary and Joseph to hear of such superlative status proposed for their own new born child? And what would it be like for anyone who shares their social and economic status: forced by an impersonal state bureaucracy to travel, without connections, along dangerous roads; forced to find shelter, and to give birth without medical assistance, alongside animals in a stable; forced to endure the social stigma of an “irregular” conception (The reader has the inside information that the pregnancy is divinely legitimized, but no kinfolk or fellow villagers would have been privy to that information. We are never told how any of them react to the pregnancy, but surely it is a cause for social shaming of the couple, especially of Mary).
Did Mary have the right to hope any of these fantastical claims, proposed to ...
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Summer 2020 Readings
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL156: Shepherds Visit
December 25, 2014
Narrative Lectionary podcast on readings for Dec. 25, 2014: Luke 2:1-14 [15-20] (Accompanying text: Psalm 95:6-7). NOTE: This is the same podcast as the one published for Dec. 24, 2014.