γενήσομαι «ge-ney-soh-mey : i am becoming»
These are the chronicles of the esoteric . . .
re-reading the nativity
A few years ago I shared to my Facebook feed a re-write of the Nativity through a narrative-historical understanding of the biblical text.
That is to say, I attempted to interpret Jesus' birth stories the way the Scriptures present them—without tradition's interference, without us reading back our understandings into the text, and the way I think they would've been understood within their cultural and theological context.
I've decided, in light of Christmas in only a few days, to re-post it here with two additional stories of the shepherds, and of Simeon and Anna.
For fun and in my sparest of times I have slowly been re-interpreting the stories of Jesus and doing so particularly with children in mind. Please enjoy these for now.
And Merry Christmas.
One day the Jewish people were told by the Roman government to go to their home town to be counted. It was close to the time for Mary to give birth, but because Joseph was a good, responsible Jew he decided they had to go to Bethlehem and do their part. So they began their journey.
Because it was the tradition to stay with family, Joseph and Mary went straight to the house of one of Joseph's relatives. But when they arrived, the little town was already busy with people! Mary and Joseph were not the only ones who made the journey to Bethlehem—there were so many relatives that the guest room was already full and the main room was full too!
But Joseph's family couldn't just turn their relative away—especially when Mary was so pregnant. So Joseph's family made a space for the two of them in the room of the house where the animals slept at night.
And there it was that Mary gave birth to her son. Joseph's family gave her swaddling cloths for wrapping up the baby and Mary used the animals' feeding trough as a cradle for the baby.
The Angels and the Shepherds
Just outside of Bethlehem, where Mary gave birth to Jesus, there were shepherds watching some sheep. Shepherds were normally just regular men, but most of the shepherds outside of Bethlehem were the ones who watched the sheep owned by the Temple. There were some people who believed that when God's Chosen One came he would appear to these shepherds.
The night when Jesus was born these shepherds were doing their duties when suddenly a bright light shone around them and an angel appeared! The shepherds were very scared and confused.
The angel said, 'Don't be scared! We have some really good news to tell you! But it's good news not just for you but for all the people in Israel, from the highest to the lowest! Because tonight a baby was born in King David's city! The little baby is the Chosen One, and he is the True King! And you'll know which baby it is because you'll find him in swaddling cloths and sleeping in a manger!'
And then suddenly more angels appeared all around the shepherds and they sang, 'Glory to God! And peace on earth and peace on everyone who God favours!'
Then the angels disappeared, and the shepherds looked at each other and they said, 'Well, let's go to Bethlehem and check out what God just told us about!'
So they hurried off to Bethlehem and they found a house with a new born baby—and that baby was swaddled in cloths and sleeping in a manger. Then the shepherds ran off and started telling all the Jewish people the things the angels told them and about the special baby they saw who would become the True King. And they went back to their sheep and they praised God the whole time.
Prophecies in the Temple
Because Mary and Joseph were doing their best to follow God's teachings, they went to the Temple for the priests to bless their baby, Jesus, the way they were taught to do.
When they got to the Temple an old priest named Simeon came out to see them. He believed that he wouldn't die until he saw the salvation that God would bring to Israel—and when he saw Mary's baby he knew then that he finally saw it.
The priest Simeon picked Jesus up into his arms and he said, 'I praise God because now I have finally seen the salvation of Israel. This baby will show the entire world who you are, God, exactly because he will save Israel.'
And then the priest Simeon turned to Mary and Joseph and said, 'Your baby will cause all of Israel to disagree with one another—some people will see your baby as the Chosen One who will save Israel and others won't.'
There was another priestess who saw the baby Jesus and she right away knew he would be the True King. Anna then told everyone in the Temple who asked her when Israel would be saved that the baby she saw would be the one to save Israel. ✤