Have you ever tried to teach a Sunday
school class the Christmas narrative during Lent? You should try it,
it's a wonderful exercise!
My Sunday morning class started
studying the book of Luke back in November when our wrapped up our
look at theophanies in the Old Testament. As we had a lot of
background to go over we weren't even able to get to the Announcement
in the Lukan account until the beginning of last month which means we
didn’t get to the birth account of the promised Christ until smack
dab in the middle of Lent.
That's OK I think as Jesus' birth
in Bethlehem fits rather nicely in this season of the Church year.
From the Light of the World being born in the dark of night in some
backwater town no one in Rome ever cared about to the Good Shepherd
being visited by shepherds who, while still supplying the locals
their meat, will be out of a job soon enough if they supply the lambs
for the temple sacrifice.
We can't read the infancy narrative
without peeking ahead and seeing that this small child will, in just
a few short years, be nailed to a cross as the propitiator of God's
wrath for the whole world.
We can't look at the cloth bands
the Christ is wrapped in and not think about a bloody body being
pulled down from the cross at Golgotha and wrapped in His burial
clothes before being placed into the tomb that three days later will
be miraculously empty!
We cant look at the circumcision and
not see that from the very beginning of time our Lord would be
shedding His blood in order to fulfill the Law and redeem His people.
We can't look at the presentation of
the Christ child at the temple and not see that His parents only
having enough money to offer up two pigeons for His dedication
because they could not afford a lamb and not see that the Lamb who
takes away the sin of the world is the one who is entering the
Yep, the infancy narrative fits
rather nicely into the season of Lent. Perfectly in fact.