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Jesus Christ

Luke's subversive story of Jesus' birth

Luke's subversive story of Jesus' birth

Luke's account of the birth of Jesus probably conjures sentimental feelings for most people. It might even call to mind the soulful recitation given by Linus in “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Now, I have nothing against sentimentality, but if that's all we get out of the story of the birth of Jesus, we are pretty much missing the point. Luke's deceptively simple tale is subversive. It's a provocation.

The narrative begins as a heroic poem would have at the time, by mentioning great and powerful leaders, in this case the Roman emperor Augustus and Quirinius, the Roman governor of Syria: “Now it happened that at this time Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be made of...