The Nativity

Matthew 1:18 – 2:23, and Luke 2:1-21.

I think I prefer the Luke version, with the shepherds, and with the prominence given to Mary and Elizabeth, and especially Luke 2:19:

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered over them.

(Revised English Bible)

I love the Nativity. The story works on all sorts of levels:

  • For me, it sums up the whole of the Jesus message. It’s the fulfillment of a promise. Once Jesus is born, you know everything is going to be alright. I know the Gospels are supposed to be a Passion with an introduction, but for me, the Nativity is the most important part (even though Mark and John don’t have one).
  • Such a simple story, pregnant (pardon the pun) with meaning. The literary critic William Empson defined pastoral as “art in the service of artlessness” and the Nativity is an almost perfect example of pastoral. Pastoral is my favourite style of art: celebrating and at the same time pointing to the limits of art, and by extension human endeavour in general. “Ends” is a better word than “limits”, with its extra meaning of purpose.
  • Two people get together and have a kid. That’s the story. The trials and tribulations, and the wonders, faced by the Holy Family are reproduced in little by everyone bringing a new child into the world. When I see a Nativity I think of every ordinary baby. When I see or hear of a baby being born, I automatically think of the Nativity.

1 Comment

  1. […] April 28, 2009 at 3:11 pm · Filed under Luke See the Nativity. […]

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