Two of the three lectionary years focus on a Gospel with a birth story. It was Luke in Year C and the associated Canticles. In Year A we move to Matthew’s Christmas story. Matthew’s Christmas story is much shorter than Luke. It is also different – no angels, shepherds, instead a star and visitors from the East. Jesus is born in a house, not a stable. Where Mary is the focus in Luke, it is Joseph who dominates Matthew’s account.
Luke is more about joy. In particular Matthew brings up the theme of conflict with Herod trying to destroy Jesus and the Holy family’s trek to Egypt and back. Both stories of Jesus’ birth are about fulfillment and both use light effectively in their works.
We will look at Matthew Chapter 1 and 2 in this class using a series of Powerpoints. The class was last taught in Advent, 2016 with Powerpoints over 4 Sundays.
There are two major purposes:
->What did Matthew’s story mean to 1st century Christians? Much of Matthew’s account is a fulfillment of Old Testament scripture. Matthew took liberally from these sources.
->What does it mean to us today? One writer has simply said “the purpose of Advent and Christmas is to bring the past into the present”