“…the relation of the [biblical writer] to the truth of his story still remains a far more passionate and definite one than is Homer’s relation.  The Biblical narrator was obliged to write exactly what his belief in the truth of the tradition…demanded of him—in either case, his freedom in creative or representative imagination was severely limited; his activity was perforce reduced to composing an effective version of the pious tradition.  What he produced, then, was not primarily oriented toward ‘realism’ (if he succeeded in being realistic, it was merely a means, not an end); it was oriented toward truth.  Woe to the man who did not believe it!  One can perfectly well entertain historical doubts on the subject of the Trojan War or of Odysseus’ wanderings, and still, when reading Homer, feel precisely the effects he sought to produce; but without believing in Abraham’s sacrifice, it is impossible to put the narrative of it to the use for which it was written.  Indeed, we must go even further.  The Bible’s claim to truth is not only far more urgent than Homer’s, it is tyrannical—it excludes all other claims.  The world of the Scripture stories is not satisfied with claiming to be a historically true reality—it insists that it is the only real world, is destined for autocracy.  All other scenes, issues, and ordinances have no right to appear independently of it, and it is promised that all of them, the history of all mankind, will be given their due place within its frame, will be subordinated to it.  The Scripture stories do not, like Homer’s, court our favor, they do not flatter us that they may please us and enchant us—they seek to subject us, and if we refuse to be subjected we are rebels…Far from seeking, like Homer, merely to make us forget our own reality for a few hours, it seeks to overcome our reality: we are to fit our own life into its world, to feel ourselves to be elements in its structure of universal history.” (Erich Auerbach, Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, pp. 14-15)

christmas_still2“Behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which mean, God with us).” (Matthew 1:20-23)

“And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’  And Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be, since I am a virgin?’  And the angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy–the Son of God…For nothing will be impossible with God.’  And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’  And the angel departed from her.” (Luke 1:30-38)

“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.  And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.'” (Luke 2:8-14)

**A good Christmas sermon you can read or listen to here:

http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByScripture/14/1022_We_Have_Come_to_Worship_Him/

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