Monday, December 22, 2008

Year B, Christmas 1 - Jesus' Childhood

Isa 61:10-62:3 (1 Occurence)
Ps 148 (4 Occurences, Christmas 1 ABC, Easter 5 C)
Gal 4:4-7 (1 Occurence)
Lk 2:22-40 (1 Occurence)

Three out of seven years has only one Sunday between December 25th (Christmas) and January 6th (Epiphany). As such, this Sunday is the only Sunday before epiphany just under half of the time.

The gospel for Christmas 1 in all years focuses on the stories of Jesus’ childhood. Conveniently enough, there are only three such stories: Jesus’ presentation in the temple (Luke), the flight and exile in Egypt (Matthew), and Jesus as a child being left behind in the Temple (Luke). As such, it is an opportunity to expand on the story of Jesus’ birth.

The gospel for Christmas 1 in year B gives an opportunity to fully tell Luke’s stories surrounding the birth of Jesus as it follows on the heels of the Christmas reading. I would actually suggest that the reading begin with the verse concerning Jesus’ circumcision, which is included in the Christmas reading because of the naming of Jesus. However, given the ideas of Mary’s purification after birth and Jesus’ dedication in the temple according to the law of Moses, Jesus’ circumcision on the 8th day falls in line with the ritual theme of the prescribed reading.

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