Are you an optimist or a realist? To which Infancy Narrative are you more attracted, Luke or Matthew?
Most people prefer Luke’s telling of the birth of Jesus. It’s more familiar to us as we read it every Christmas. He tells of the Annunciation to Mary, her visit to Elizabeth, the trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem, the stable, the manger, angels’ singing, Peace on earth, and shepherds. Even after the Savior’s birth there is no trouble except what says to Mary at the Presentation.
It’s all light, happiness and joy.
Matthew’s telling of the story of Christ’s birth, on the other hand, has Joseph and Mary living in a house in Bethlehem and the annunciation is told to Joseph. After the quiet birth of Jesus with no fanfare, Matthew has Joseph, Mary and the baby hightail out of Bethlehem going to Egypt to escape the murderous wrath of Herod who gives an order that all innocent children should be killed in the area around Bethlehem.
Matthew is much darker and more sinister, certainly less joyful, and maybe more realistic.
Life and death, light and darkness, joy and sorrow are always present in our lifes, especially this Christmas when our happiness is tempered by the sadness in Newtown.
But, for today, let’s have smiles. Let us remember that Christ is our light who shines through the darkness and that darkness has not overcome it.
And, may we be lights for others to help them through their shadows and moments of darkness.