The Christmas scene birth of Jesus (Lk 2:7-2:7)

“Mary gave birth

To her first-born son.

She wrapped him

In bands

Of swaddling cloths.

She laid him

In a manger,

Because there was

No place

For them

In the inn.”

 

καὶ ἔτεκεν τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς τὸν πρωτότοκον, καὶ ἐσπαργάνωσεν αὐτὸν καὶ ἀνέκλινεν αὐτὸν ἐν φάτνῃ, διότι οὐκ ἦν αὐτοῖς τόπος ἐν τῷ καταλύματι.

 

Luke explained in great detail about the birth of Jesus, his clothing, and the manger, that has become the famous Christmas scene that most have come to know and love.  Matthew, chapter 2:1, had no details like this in his story about the birth of Jesus, while Mark and John had no infancy narratives at all.  In fact, Matthew said that the Magi visited Mary and the child in a house in chapter 2:11, not a manger.  Luke reported that Mary gave birth to her first-born son (καὶ ἔτεκεν τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς τὸν πρωτότοκον).  Did that imply that there were other children?  Within the Jewish tradition, the first-born male child would be dedicated to God with special legal and family rights, as indicated in Exodus, chapter 13:2, where Yahweh got the first-born of everything, as a consecration to God.  In Numbers, chapter 3:12, the Levites take the place of the first born as a dedication to God.  In Deuteronomy, chapter 21:17, the first born had all the rights versus the other children.  Mary wrapped the baby Jesus with bands of cloth or swaddling clothes (καὶ ἐσπαργάνωσεν αὐτὸν), as it is often called.  These tight bands of cloth kept the arms and legs of the newborn from wailing away, while also keeping the child warm.  Then Mary laid him in a manger (καὶ ἀνέκλινεν αὐτὸν ἐν φάτνῃ), because there was no place for them in the lodging inn (διότι οὐκ ἦν αὐτοῖς τόπος ἐν τῷ καταλύματι).  This manger (ἐν φάτνῃ) was a feeding trough for horses and cattle.  Thus, Jesus was born in a place where animals would feed.  He then would offer himself as the bread of life.  Apparently, they were in a barn because there were no appropriate lodging places for a pregnant expecting woman.  There was no indication that Joseph had other relatives in Bethlehem where they might stay.  Just by coincidence, I am posting this blog on December 24, 2018, Christmas Eve.

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The exclamation prayer of Elizabeth (Lk 1:42-1:42)

“Elizabeth exclaimed

With a loud cry.

‘Blessed are you

Among women!

Blessed is the fruit

Of your womb!’”

 

καὶ ἀνεφώνησεν κραυγῇ μεγάλῃ καὶ εἶπεν Εὐλογημένη σὺ ἐν γυναιξίν, καὶ εὐλογημένος ὁ καρπὸς τῆς κοιλίας σου.

 

Luke then had Elizabeth shout out, as if speaking for the baby in her womb.  Elizabeth exclaimed with a loud cry (καὶ ἀνεφώνησεν κραυγῇ μεγάλῃ).  She said that Mary was blessed among all women (καὶ εἶπεν Εὐλογημένη σὺ ἐν γυναιξίν).  Blessed would be the fruit of her womb (καὶ εὐλογημένος ὁ καρπὸς τῆς κοιλίας σου)!  Thus, Elizabeth, without a word spoken, knew that Mary was pregnant with an important child.  These words of Elizabeth then became the second part of the “Ave Maria,” prayer.  “Hail Mary!  Full of Grace!  The Lord is with you!  Blessed are you among women!  Blessed is the fruit of your womb!  Jesus!”  Thus, Elizabeth, via Luke, is the biblical originator of this Marian prayer that became popular in the middle ages down to the present time.

Terrible if you have infants (Mk 13:17-13:17)

“Woe to those

Who are pregnant!

Woe to those

Who are nursing

In those days!”

 

οὐαὶ δὲ ταῖς ἐν γαστρὶ ἐχούσαις καὶ ταῖς θηλαζούσαις ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις

 

This is exactly the same, word for word, in Matthew, chapter 24:19, and in Luke, chapter 21:23.  All three synoptic gospels have the same wording for this curse.  The cursed ones (οὐαὶ δὲ) would be those women who were pregnant with a baby in their womb (ταῖς ἐν γαστρὶ ἐχούσαις) or those women nursing infants (καὶ ταῖς θηλαζούσαις) in those days (ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις), during the end times.  They were cursed because there would be no earthly future for their infants.

Pregnant or nursing (Mt 24:19-24:19)

“Woe to those

Who are pregnant!

Woe to those

Who are nursing infants

In those days!”

 

οὐαὶ δὲ ταῖς ἐν γαστρὶ ἐχούσαις καὶ ταῖς θηλαζούσαις ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις.

 

This is exactly the same, word for word, in Mark, chapter 13:17, and in Luke, chapter 21:23.  All three synoptic gospels have the same wording for this curse.  The curses ones (οὐαὶ δὲ) would be those women who were pregnant with a baby in their womb (ταῖς ἐν γαστρὶ ἐχούσαις) or those women nursing infants (καὶ ταῖς θηλαζούσαις) during the end times, in those days (ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις).  There would be no earthly future for their infants