Yesterday I started a little series of posts on the Christmas story, both in the NT and in later Gospels, by reproducing a little meditation from seven years ago. Here’s one that I wrote last year. Again, it was for some national media (a magazine, I think), but I don’t remember and I didn’t write it down. It deals with some of the things that I’ll be talking about at greater length in some of my forthcoming posts, but in a succinct way; still, be forewarned, there will necessarily be overlap. In this piece, though, I am dealing, ultimately, not so much with the discrepancies and historical problems with the story per se; those allow me to get to a bigger point at the end. In any event, here it is, as written last year at this time.


The Myth of the First Christmas

Once more the season is come upon us. At its heart stands a tale of two-thousand year vintage, the Christmas story. Or perhaps we should say the Christmas myth.

When Post-Enlightenment scholars turned their critical tools on the tales of Scripture, the birth of Jesus to a virgin in Bethlehem was one of the first subjected to skeptical scrutiny. Not only was the notion of a virgin birth deemed unhistorical on general principle. The other familiar aspects of the story were seriously called into question.

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