Two Christmas Suppositions (a svithe)


Two Saturdays ago, we were reading Matthew 2 as part of our Christmas advent and read about the Wise Men:

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judæa in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is he that is born "King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him."

When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, "In Bethlehem of Judæa: for thus it is written by the prophet, 'And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.'"

Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, "Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also."

When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

That last bit got me singing a line from this excellent Low song:

Lady Steed was startled, having thought the song was about a different bit of the Christmas story. I thought we were both right, there being more than one verse. (In being nice, I became wrong also.)

Anyway, the song played on the car stereo as we drove to church the next morning and I pointed out the Wise Men.

THEN, at Sunday School, we read the Micah scripture quoted above:

But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

That same Saturday, because we were behind on our advent reading (already! on December 3!) we also read about the shepherds. I paused to read Darlene Young's "Shepherds" (not our first poem introduced into scripture study that week; I'd also read one from here).

And after we read Micah we read Matthew again. Then, that evening, during the Christmas Broadcast, Elder Oaks talked about the shepherds and how they "made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child."

And I realized: the elites of Judean society never heard what the shepherds "made known abroad." And how unsurprising this is. And how the humble are rarely listened to, even when their information is enormously important. What a start to the Christian era.

That supposition is mine.

Then Elder Oaks went on to make one of his own (I assume; I doubt either of these are original; no doubt both our suppositions are old hats to scholars of Christmas scriptures):

The lavish gifts the magi bestowed upon the Christ Child may well have funded his family's subsequent flight into Egypt.

Which makes sense.

Anyway, it's fun to connect pieces and richen stories. Do you have any Christmas suppositions of your own?

previous svithe on thutopia
previous svithe on thubstack

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