"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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Shepherds Visit (or The Magi)
Beginning of Good News
Luke 2:8-20 (or Matthew 2:1-12) Commentary
by James Hanson
As I write this, the gap between God’s promises and reality as we experience it that I spoke about in reference to Zechariah’s song two weeks ago seems especially pronounced.
In addition to the rampant gun violence here, the horrific mess that is Syria and its refugees, and the rest of the world’s woes, an alert from the New York Times just popped up (I know, I should turn that off when I’m trying to focus) that details the latest violence in Israel -- talk of a third intifada, from where I sit, does not seem exaggerated. It also brings to mind my visit to the “actual” shepherds’ field outside Bethlehem with a group of students; we read the story of the angels proclaiming “Peace on earth” to the shepherds aloud overlooking one of the grand and intimidating Israeli settlements that form a ring around Bethlehem (which is in Palestine). Such reality makes the task of understanding the story of the peace proclaimed to the shepherds both more difficult and, paradoxically, somewhat easier.
The focus this week is on the reaction of those who first heard the news of the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem, both on earth (the shepherds, ...
| Bible Text
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
2020-21 Worship Resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL203: Birth of Jesus, Shepherds Visit
December 25, 2015
This podcast discusses Luke 2:1-20, the Narrative Lectionary reading for Dec. 24 and Dec. 25, 2015.