Angels direct, as it were the narrative traffic of both those infancy stories but there is one very special case of angelic intervention found only in Luke. This involves not just a single angel but the entire heavenly choir who descend to earth...
Some extreme politicians are blaming hard working people for the economic hardships facing many of our states and communities. The attack on public sector workers is evidence of leaders who want to ask for more and more.
Scripture advises that anger clouds our vision and hardens our hearts. It makes us base rather than noble. It blinds us to our own failings and encourages a dangerous arrogance. It makes us forget we need forgiveness as individuals and as a nation.
I figured in modern bible translations "homage" was left in the story of the Wise Men because it is such a classic, old, venerated expression ... "they paid him homage". Imagine my surprise when I opened the King James and found no "homage" at all.
I can't imagine a better way of celebrating the original Christmas event, or a better way of kicking off a new year, than by allowing our genuine and well-warranted joy to be interrupted by the suffering of our world, even for a moment.
How overwhelming the first Christmas must have been for Mary and Joseph. Few things can provoke such intense worry as a newborn child. But few things promise such unreasonable hope, such unexpected change and such unbounded joy.
While theories vary on who the "historical" Jesus really was, there's general agreement that Jesus was not born in Bethlehem. So why was it so important for the gospel writers to claim Bethlehem as Jesus' birthplace?
Of all the characters who appear in the Gospel accounts of Jesus' birth, the "Three Wise Men" are by far the most fascinating. Who were these mysterious foreigners? Where did they come from? What was their star? And were there even three of them?