Did the first Christmas happen?

This is the second part of my Advent series. I’m looking at the opening of each Gospel and how they each handle the arrival of Jesus in a different way. Last week was Matthew, who starts with a long list of names.

Today, we are doing the next Gospel, Mark.

Mark

It’s like it never happened

This is a little awkward. Mark doesn’t have a nativity story. He starts with these words:

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

But then he jumps into John the Baptist, as a grown up pointing people to Jesus. Then he’s into Jesus getting baptised, calling disciples, and – WAIT ONE MINUTE!! What about Mary? And Joseph? And shepherds? This is most irregular.

Mark doesn’t seem that interested in the events surrounding Jesus’ birth. He gets straight into the action of Jesus as an adult beginning his public ministry.

Consequently, this blog post is going to be quite short, because I’m not going to spin a great deal of significance from this omission where I don’t think there is much. But there is one thing I want to try to remember from Mark.

One thing to remember

Some suggest that because Mark doesn’t talk about Jesus’ birth, it can’t be that important. All the Gospels have the crucifixion and resurrection, but only three have something to do with the incarnation. Thus we can deduce – they say – that the incarnation is of less significance. The only reason Jesus entered the world is because he had to in order to then die and rise again in it.

I don’t believe that is true. The incarnation – the coming of Jesus into the world – is of deep significance in its own right. It speaks volumes of God’s character and nature.

But, it isn’t all there is. What I choose to remember from Mark is this: in the midst of festivities celebrating Jesus’ birth, I will also look ahead to remember the life that followed, the death that followed that, and the life that followed that.

Christmas isn’t just the beginning, but it is the beginning of a bigger story.


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