Advent is almost over and Christmas is almost here! Over the last few weeks we’ve zoomed in on many different aspects of Advent and Christmas. Today we’re going to step back and look at the big picture by reading the entire account of Jesus’ birth as recorded by the Gospel writers Matthew and Luke. They each write from a slightly different perspective, and reading one or both narratives is a great way to get the whole story in our minds as we’re about to celebrate Jesus’ birth.
You’ll find links to several Bible translations listed below. You may want to use a translation other than the one you normally read so that you can get a fresh perspective on what may be a familiar story.
Matthew was one of Jesus’ 12 disciples. As such he was an “insider” who spent a lot of time with Jesus and was present for many of the events he recorded. He was a Jew who collected taxes for the Roman government, which meant that his fellow-countrymen didn’t exactly appreciate his occupation. But, his life was transformed when he met Jesus; and he was excited to write a brief biography of the One who had changed his life.
Matthew recorded his account of Jesus’ birth in Matthew 1:18 – 2:23. Here are several translations of what Matthew wrote.
Luke was a doctor and historian who probably never met Jesus. He based his account of Jesus’ life on eyewitness testimony and other early records of Jesus’ life (see Luke 1:1-4). He was also a Gentile (non-Jew); so his perspective differs from Matthew’s, and the two complement one another well.
Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth is somewhat longer than Matthew’s, in part because it interweaves details of the birth of John the Baptist, who was Jesus’ cousin. Below are links to several translations of Luke 1:5 – 2:40.
Reflection and Discussion
- What strikes you about the narrative(s) of Jesus’ birth that you read today? Why?
- What is your favorite part of the Christmas story? Why?
Thank You for providing these records of Jesus’ birth for us. Please give us fresh insights into this wonderful story, and renew our sense of expectation as we look forward to celebrating our Savior’s birth. May our hearts overflow with joy and thankfulness as Christmas draws near.