Thursday, December 22, 2016

The original Christmas story





Many of us are familiar with the Christmas narrative of Luke 2:1-20.  Perhaps you are even among the people who memorized it for a children's Christmas service many years ago.  (I could still recite the King James Version in the same sing-songy manner we used if I had to.)

Our familiarity with the Christmas narrative, however, is probably influenced too much by Nativity scenes, creative hymnody. and European artists.  I know that I have been guilty of perpetuating in my own preaching images that are more imagination than fact.  (For example: There was no mean inn keeper who banned Joseph and Mary from his hotel.)  It's not that we have been telling lies; it is that our image of the Christmas narrative has been skewed by traditions which attempted to put the birth of Jesus in a European or American influenced context.

For a fascinating interview on the Christmas narrative, taking into account the Palestinian context of it all, take a listen to this interview from Issues, Etc.  Dr. Ken Bailey spent decades living in the Middle East and is very familiar with their culture, much of which still reflects the culture into which Jesus was born.  Dr. Bailey discusses the place where Mary would have been birth and the shepherds reaction to seeing Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, and ties these events to other parts of Scripture.  

The interview is about an hour, but is well worth your time.

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