Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Infancy Narrative During Lent?

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 temple.

Yep, the infancy narrative fits rather nicely into the season of Lent. Perfectly in fact.

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