Monday, December 18, 2017

The gospels tell different stories about Christmas

When you read all four gospels, you quickly realize that while Matthew and Luke tell parts of what we call “the Christmas story”, Mark and John don’t mention angels, shepherds, the manger or any of the other usual features of the Christmas story as we know it. 

This doesn’t mean that they ignore the fact that God became man. Mark begins this way: The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God which pretty much lays his cards on the table.
John makes an even bigger statement about Jesus and who he is: 
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God and the Word was with God.

You see neither Mark nor John see the Bethlehem nativity story as being central to what they want to say. “In the beginning”; you might feel that you’ve read those words somewhere before. John starts his Gospel by echoing the words of Genesis and as he does so, he does two things.
First, he sets out the amazing contention that Jesus, the man he knew and was friends with, was present and active at the creation of the universe. The Word was with God in the beginning. All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. We sometimes get rather blasé about this. But this is an amazing statement and if it is true, it changes the world completely.
But John is doing something more by mirroring the opening of the book of Genesis; he is picturing the story of Jesus as a new creation narrative. Jesus wasn’t just involved in the original creation, but his life, death and resurrection point to and announces a new creation. When God became man, born to Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem, the whole world changed. The Christmas story isn’t really about angels, shepherds, wise men, little donkeys or any of the other stuff of Christmas, it is about the re-creation of the whole world and a re-establishment of the fundamental relationship between the creator God and his creation. John has a way of taking us deeper into what God was doing in Jesus – he was making all things new.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Been into Alexander Shaia lately?

Michael Bells said...

never heard of him

Anonymous said...

Have a listen. https://robbell.podbean.com/e/alexander-shaia-on-the-mythic-power-of-christmas/