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The REAL Christmas Characters: Jesus

December 25, 2017
The Infancy Narratives in the gospels of Mathew and Luke are filled with rich symbolism. The Evangelists were Christians of the first century whose lives were dramatically changed after the death and resurrection of Jesus. It was their deep faith in Jesus and their concrete experience of the Christian community that informed the theology that permeates the Christmas story.
Jesus
The birthday boy, the reason for the season, the most important figure in the Christmas story, is obviously Jesus! Matthew and Luke’s infancy narratives are all about communicating who this man really is. The angels singing, the magi coming from the east, the threat to the political and religious establishment; it’s all about the incarnation, the birth of the Messiah.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind about Jesus in the Christmas story: The first is the revolutionary nature of the whole event. It turns everything on its head. A king born in a manger, a virgin birth, outcast shepherds hearing the good news first, foreigners worshiping the God of Israel, and the impending conflict between Jesus and the establishment. The Christmas story is not as tame as we sometimes make it out to be.
Second: we have to realize that the infancy narratives were written by Christians after Jesus had risen from the dead. The Christmas story has that revolutionary quality to it because that was the faith and experience of the early Christians. Their lives had been changed by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Through the infancy narratives, Matthew and Luke are trying to tell us, who this man really is, and what his birth, life and death meant for them, and for the entire human family.
“One will never understand the infancy narratives without first being convinced that all Gospel material has been colored by the faith and experience of the church of the first century.”
Fr. Raymond Brown, SS, "An Adult Christ at Christmas"

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