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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Matthew 1 and Leviticus 20 - Christmas and Death

Perhaps you might not realize it from the so-called Christmas music that's being played everywhere, but Christmas is a deathly serious holiday. For the first example, look at Matthew 1:18-19:


New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

18This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.



The recent movie The Nativity Story speculates that Joseph decided to decline to press charges, theoretically removing any chance that Mary would be punished according to the law:


Leviticus 20:10 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

10 " 'If a man commits adultery with another man's wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.



The picture of domestic bliss in most nativity scenes obscures the fact that the mother and (supposed) father were perceived to be sinners and accomplices to same, and that Mary deserved death - as do we all.

For more behind the "peace on earth" message that the stores trumpet, see Matthew 2:16-18, Jeremiah 31:15-17, and of course Matthew 27:47-50.

So, the next time that your local store plays "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" in an effort to get you to buy more stuff, remember the woman with a death sentence, giving birth in the dirt to a child who would be threatened with death less than two years later. Now try to drink some hot cocoa.

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