Bishop Thomas Gumbletonby Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace

I’ve heard it proclaimed for many years at Christmas night, and because it is so familiar to us, sometimes we may not really get the full sense of what is being proclaimed. We’re used to it, and so we almost do not really listen deeply. And then also we fail to understand that when Luke wrote this Gospel, and wrote this passage about the birth of Jesus, it was many years after Jesus had come into the world, and Luke was not writing a biography of Jesus or a history. He was writing a theological explanation of Jesus, a deeper sense of what this passage is.

handsAnd so what Luke does is draw from the Hebrew Scriptures and provides for us a deeper understanding of Jesus. In our first lesson tonight, we were told about a time in the history of the chosen people when they had been driven into exile, when they had lost everything, and in fact the 10 tribes of the northern kingdom were destroyed.

But in the midst of their sufferings and their trials, Isaiah tells them, “A child is born to us; a son is given us. The royal ornament is laid upon his shoulder and his name is proclaimed — a wonderful counselor, mighty God, prince of peace.” Luke is evoking those words when he tells us about the son who is the descendent of David and is born in Bethlehem, David’s city. He wants us to see in this child the one who not only saves them from exile and from suffering and death, but who brings them the life of God — God’s very self. Jesus, Luke is telling us, is Savior, Messiah, and God…

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