The Christmas Story: Re-blog

Here are the long and short versions for reading the Christmas story on Christmas Eve:

Short Version

The Annunciation                                   Luke 1:26-1:50

From the Birth of Jesus to Nazareth     Matthew 1:18-2:23

The Birth of Jesus                                    Luke 2:1-20

Long Version

Luke 1:5-1:80      Elizabeth and Zechariah; The Annunciation; John the Baptist

Matt. 1:18-1:25    The Angel to Joseph

Luke 2:1-2:21        Joseph to Bethlehem; The Shepherds See the Angel

Matt.2:1-2:23        Herod and the Wise Men; Jesus to Egypt, Then Nazareth

Luke 2:22-35; 41-52   Simeon to Nazareth; Age 12, Preaching in the Temple

Read these in order for the scripture reading of the Christmas story.

  1.  

    The story is well known, and these numbers allow it to be strung in order for reading on Christmas eve.

       Marriages in the Bible are based on consent, as is the marriage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, or at least two of the three. [So it is wrong to assume that in the Bible women are treated only as property- in fact the Bible introduces the idea of consent, just as Jefferson introduces the idea of equality, then is rejected for being in a world where equality has not yet been introduced. The abolition of slavery was first though of in the modern world by the Quakers just one generation prior to Jefferson, and the equality of women first mentioned by the same, and perhaps by Mary Shelley, in the generation just previous. Slavery was also abolished in medieval Europe, by the papacy after the Fall of the Roman Empire in 476, but I do not know the history here.] As are the marriages that occur from meetings by the well, like Sarah and Rachael (?) is the incarnation based on consent, although Mary is not told what Simon later tells her, that “a sword will pierce through your own soul also” (Luke 34-35). The pain of a mother at the death of her offspring is the greatest normal human sorrow, followed quickly by the death of a new husband or wife, as the sorrow of Juliet. At the foot of the cross are only Mary, Mary Magdalene, and John.

       The prophesies of the Messiah are obvious to the Jews who are questioned by Herod and know from scripture, somehow, that the messiah will be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Like the line of Isaiah (7:14), the a “virgin will conceive,” it is not clear how they know that this is a prophesy of the messiah. But Isaiah prophesies Galilee, and also the things he will be called, which include “Mighty God (Oxford, or “lord”) and “Everlasting Father.” (This is also where Cheech and Chong’s sources got “Prince of Peace,” when Jesus is stopped at the southern border!) But it is also prophesied that he will be “called a Nazarene.” and called “out of Egypt.” There are relatives of the Jews in Ethiopia, from the marriage of Solomon to the Queen of Sheba, as there may have been in Egypt, and we suspect the Christ was hidden among Ethiopian Jews. These claim that the ark is there, while 2 Maccabees 2:4-8 says it is within eyesight of the tomb of Moses, hidden by Jeremiah in the Mountains of Jordan at the edge of the Holy Land. The ground movements around Galilee and Nazareth can also be deciphered, as Elizabeth is an aunt of Mary, perhaps a sister of St. Ann the mother of Mary, who was married to Joachim. Though they did not travel much, Jesus knew John the Baptist as a grand-cousin, the son of the Aunt of his mother. If the mother of John the Apostle, Salome, was a sister of Mary, John the Apostle may have been a cousin of Jesus, perhaps fishing near Peter on the sea of Galilee there to the east. And were these, Elizabeth, Mary, Zecharia and Joachim, also of the lineage of David? Otherwise, the way we understand the annunciation and the immaculate conception, Jesus would be the descendant of David by law but not by nature. Most in that region are from other of the twelve tribes. But Elizabeth and Joachim lived just South of Nazareth but in a different province (Samaria). It is not unusual, and would not be especially mentioned, that a “young woman” conceive, though this is how the line might read, and how it is read following Maimonides.

       It is under Augustus that Herod commits the slaughter of the innocents, Rachel weeping for the children of Ramah. The interaction between human choice and divine Providence is most amusing here, as Herod is able to make the birth of the messiah the cause of the slaughter, yet the angel is able to prevent the infant Jesus from being caught up in this. If anyone wondered whether the character of Augustus is honestly portrait in the Rex Augusti, the autobiography, well there it is. And how did a fellow like Herod come to be called King of the Jews? Josephus lets it slip that Herod paid off Caesar and Antony, and also that Cleopatra added Herod to her trophy case. Despite writing under Roman emperors, Josephus, like Tacitus, gives the historian a second line, so that the Roman history can be seen by triangulation.

       It is further amazing that the Astrologers of Babylon could figure the birth of the messiah in place and time. Both Jews and Christians reject astrology, though there is that one line in Maimonides’ Letter on Astrology… Maimonides and others reject the Christ as this guy because he was killed, while prophesy says that the messiah will reign, and reign “forever, as Lincoln tries to say of our government of by and for the people,that it shall not perish from this earth” Some think his star was a conjunction of Venus or Saturn and Jupiter about 4-7 B. C., but the star seen by the shepherds hovers, and brings them without astrology right to the very manger-cave in Bethlehem, which is why we have shepherds wandering around in our manger scenes. Herod dies about 4 B.C., but is alive at the slaughter of the innocents. When the three wise men find him (After accidentally going to the address of Monty Python’s Brian- who keeps getting mistaken for the messiah), they give him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, said to indicate that the one born is a king, a priest and a prophet, myrrh being an herb of sorrow.

       What was spoke by the prophetess Anna at the temple is not recorded. But a sign that is spoken against, and the piercing of the soul of Mary are said to be “that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.” Our poet Simon says “my words trickle down from a wound that I have no intention to heal.”

       On consent, the master slave talk of Nietzsche and others is wrong, due to an error from not understanding liberty. Jesus tells the Apostles, there in John about 15:13-15, “Greater love has no man…no longer do I call you servants,” as “the slave does not know what the master is doing,” but I call you “friends.”

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