We’ve all heard of one-stop Christmas shopping, so I thought with the frenetic pace of holiday shopping, finding all the relevant holiday blogging experiences that are available might be a bit much to bear. Hence below are included links to many of the last couple of weeks’ worth of blog entries on Christmas-related topics.
But let me not just offer links but some actual content. I’ve been reading Christian Origins: A People’s History of Christianity, and in it there is a useful collection of Jewish birth stories which probably provided the pattern for those told about Jesus in the New Testament. For instance:
The Greek text of 1 Enoch 106:10-13,18:
Just now a child has been born to Lamech my son
and his form and his image are [not like human beings
and his color is] whiter than snow
and redder than a rose
and the hair of his head is whiter than wool
and his eyes are different – like the rays of the sun!
And he stood up from the midwife’s hands
and opening his mouth he blessed the Lord of the age!
And my son Lamech was alarmed
and he fled to me
and he does not believe that it is his son
but that [it is] from the angels…
Then I [Enoch] answered saying,
“The Lord will renew order on the earth…
And this child that was born will be left to survive
and his three children will be saved when those on earth have died.
And he will wean the earth from the corruption that is in it.
And now say to Lamech,
‘The child is yours rightly and purely.
Call his name Noah
for he will be your survivor on whom you can rest,
[he] and his sons from the earth’s corruption
and all the sinners and all things fulfilled on the earth’.”
Biblical Antiquities (Pseudo-Philo) 9.10
And the spirit of God fell on Miriam at night
And she saw a dream
and she recounted it to her parents that morning saying
“I saw [a dream] this night
and look! a man was standing there in linen clothing.
And he said to me
‘Go and say to your parents
“Look! What is born from you will be thrown out in the water.
In the same way water will be dried up through him.
And I will do signs by him
and I will save my people
and he himself holds leadership always’.”
And when Miriam recounted her dream
her parents did not believe her.
Both of the above quotes from primary sources are reproduced in Antoinette Clark Wire’s chapter “Women’s History From Birth-Prophecy Stories” in Christian Origins edited by Richard A. Horsley (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2005) pp.74-75.
Now for the links I promised to other Christmas-related posts around the blogosphere:
Another astronomer is trying to explain the star of Bethlehem. But once one realizes that the star in Matthew’s story behaves in a way that no star, planet, planetary conjunction, supernova or comet could (by leading the Magi first to Jerusalem, to ensure a slaughter will ensue, and then to a specific house in Bethlehem), the question of whether the story is based on a vague misremembered recollection of an actual astronomical phenomenon, or on nothing but symbolism, becomes impossible to determine and thus moot.
Michael Halcomb offers several posts on the relationship between Christmas traditions and Scripture, and also asks Why December 25th?
Deane’s blog discusses the incompatibility of the nativity stories in Matthew and Luke, a theme I’ve also tackled on this blog.
A call to Boycott Nativity Plays!
Has all the early focus on Christmas totally displaced Advent?
And finally there is a video ofJesus breakdancing on his birthday