A Journey Made

by Bob Putman, Director of Communications
The Christmas Story

Read Luke 2:1-7

The story is so familiar, too spare in its detail to satisfy our curiosity. Yet Luke alone includes it in his Gospel. Why?

Luke leaves out important details from his narrative, which could have built and sustained dramatic tension. How far along is Mary in her pregnancy? What is her means of transport on the journey, and her level of distress? What did Joseph do to assist her? What kind of “inn” refused them? Was the innkeeper’s motivation kind or cruel? Here’s what we do know: The Roman emperor decrees a census in his subject provinces, an action repugnant to Jewish sensibilities. This forces Joseph to take his betrothed to Bethlehem, declared in Scripture as birthplace to the Messiah. The setting of Jesus’ birth is humble, yet not out of the ordinary in the simple ways of the Middle East.

We can guess that Joseph is eager to get Mary away from the rumors and shaming looks of Nazareth―it later takes an act of God to persuade him to return there. Likewise, we can assume Joseph avoids passing through hated Samaria, instead traveling south along the Jordan River. Luke tells us nothing else. As he builds his story of Messiah’s entry into the world, Luke draws a stark contrast. Rather than the expected glory and rights of the Messianic king entering his seat of power, Jesus is born in humble―but not demeaning―circumstances, in the shadow of Herod’s magnificent fortress-palace. The King of kings comes not to lord it over his people, but to serve them beyond the stretch of their imagination. 

Read week one here.

    Point - September 2018

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