I realize I am sharing this a bit late, but I am really grateful for the support of my church to share this word about the historic circumstances around Jesus’ birth. I love how the knowledge we have acquired through study of history and archeology brings the Christmas story to life and opens our eyes to understand the significance and poetry of God’s choice to enter into the human story this way.
In particular, I am profoundly grateful that this Biblical narrative includes a glimpse into the character of God that echoes the themes we are wrestling with as a society in the #metoo and #churchtoo movements. Christians celebrate the incarnation every year, but perhaps we miss that subtext in that story…
In one of the most repeated tales in history, we see that God cares very much for the women who would not be believed – and not only in an abstract way, but in a concrete way that considers her bodily safety. Jesus shows the same care when he comes to the rescue of the woman caught in adultery later on in his life.
There is nothing that escapes God’s attention, and the vulnerability of women to abuse, sexual assault and neglect over thousands of years does not escape his notice. These details in Luke tell us that God cares so much, that he was able to capture these details even in a time when narratives were dominated by men. He leaves these messages for us in his word – for the women through the centuries who may not hear it otherwise – so that we might remember our value to God and our important role in his work in the world.