December 27, 2019
Scripture: Luke 2:21-24
After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
Thought for the Day: Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus did what any good Jewish family would have done which included making a sacrifice of gratitude to God. Luke, the Gospel writer, offers details that the other Gospels did not. Among the details included was the type of sacrifice made. Jewish law set forth a specific sacrifice to be made after the birth of a child, but if the family was poor and unable to make the appropriate sacrifice, the option of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons was allowed. This little piece of information reminds us of the economic situation in which the baby Jesus was born. Luke offers us this important detail to turn upside down the old thinking that God showed concern only for certain people with certain status. In today’s Christianity, it is hard for us to appreciate how much of religion, in the days of Jesus, tied divine blessing with economic wealth and social status. I know you’ll be shocked to learn (sarcasm) that those who controlled the religious narrative in those days were the wealthy and powerful. Then came the Jesus story to obliterate the idea that tied wealth to divine blessing, though I remain surprised how this thinking has returned in every generation of Christianity in one way or another. Today, it is called the Prosperity Gospel, and it has a lot of followers. Sadly, it has a lot of money and absolutely no Jesus.
Prayer: O God, we give you thanks for the little reminders of your far-reaching grace that has no interest in social status or appearance. Amen.
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