Each of the four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—approaches the story of Jesus in a unique way and with a different purpose and audience in mind. Entering into the world that each of these storytellers creates is like walking into someone’s home and encountering sights, sounds, and smells that are at once unfamiliar and inviting. As we journey through a holiday season quite unlike years past, spending more time at home than usual, each Sunday of Advent we will enter the “home” of one of the evangelists and explore how each Gospel household celebrates Christmas.
Christmas at Mark’s
Sunday, November 29, 2020
The home of Mark the evangelist is spare and unadorned at Christmastime. In fact, there is not a single holiday decoration anywhere in the place. But it would be too hasty to conclude that Mark doesn’t care (or know) about the Christmas story. Instead, it is more a question of the particular way that Mark wants us to think about the coming of God into the world—which is, after all, what Christmas is really about.
Christmas at Matthew’s
Sunday, December 6, 2020
Matthew’s house at Christmastime is a crowded place—it’s a family reunion, and there are many familiar faces and many unfamiliar, but all sharing in a common lineage. Pictures on the wall connect the living family to many who came before. The celebration of the coming of Jesus is the joyous recognition that the Savior is born into the long history of God’s loving covenant with God’s people—the family of God.
Christmas at Luke’s
Sunday, December 13, 2020
Luke’s house at Christmastime is as festive as festive gets. Luke gives us the Christmas story that we know and love, the story that dominates the religious imagery and iconography of this season. The deep significance of Luke’s telling, however, goes beyond scenes of quiet stables and starlit fields; it is embedded in the characters who make up the stories and the world they inhabit—a world that is being made ready for the coming kingdom of God.
Christmas at John’s
Sunday, December 20, 2020
John’s house at Christmastime isn’t really decorated for the season, but that’s because John is just too busy embedding himself in the deep, theological meaning and purpose of the celebration. The gathering at his home is not so much a Christmas party as it is an engaged and impassioned discussion. With the benefit of other evangelists already having told the story of Jesus’s birth, John is free to go all the way back to the very beginning.