Mark didn’t celebrate Christmas?

We’re 2 1/2 weeks from Christmas.  That got me to thinking about the Christmas Story in the Bible.  We sometimes just turn to any of the Gospels and expect to read about Jesus’ birth.  If we turn to Mark expecting to read about angels coming to Mary, we’re disappointed.  The Gospel Book of Mark was the first Gospel written, yet it doesn’t contain any reference to an angel appearing to a virgin, wise men, shepherds in the field watching their flocks, etc.  According to Edgar Goodspeed in his book The 12, Mark was a young man from Jerusalem who had been interpreting for Peter while Peter preached to the Greek believers in Rome.  Once Peter was crucified, Mark stepped forward and wrote down everything that Peter had told him about his time with Jesus (about AD 70).  Matthew used Mark’s writing and expounded on it in and enriching it in about AD 80 and Luke did the same in about AD 90 writing what we know as Luke and Acts. Matthew and Luke both contain the birth of Christ.

The birth of Jesus was a great event and we will celebrate His birthday at Christmas, but the birth of Christ is just the beginning of the salvation story.  When Mark wrote down what he knew from Peter and Peter’s time with Jesus, the focus wasn’t on the beginning, but the end, the last few years.  While the end can never happen without the beginning, it’s the end of Jesus’ life and his death and resurrection that offers us forgiveness this life and eternity with Him in the life to come.  So we rightfully celebrate the birth of Christ, but I understand (like Mark) that it’s not Christ’s birth that gives me life and defeats death, but Christ’s perfect life, His own death, and His glorious resurrection!

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