Fresh Insights for Advent

Studying the Birth of Jesus from Every Angle

By Aubry Smith

“He who is mighty has done great things for me”
Luke 1:26–56

Since moving to the Middle East several years ago, I have often marveled at Luke’s account of Mary receiving her commission from God to bear the messiah. The culture I now live in is much closer to Mary’s than my own American culture, bringing into sharp relief her faith and obedience in the face of scorn and shame.

By Joseph R. Dodson

“… being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame”
Matthew 1:18–25; 2:13–15

There’s a palpable pressure that comes with being a parent. The great responsibility to meet your children’s needs and train them up in the way they should go can be paralyzing. I feel this burden enough with my first four children; the pressure is compounded—for various reasons—with my fifth child, whom we adopted. With Caspian, I constantly doubt myself.…

As we contemplate the marvelous fact of God becoming man in the birth of Jesus, it’s easy to focus on Mary and Joseph, who naturally take center stage. And it’s easy to identify with the other human characters in the unfolding drama—the simple shepherds, the curious magi, maybe even the troubled King Herod. But what about the angels who appear in the nativity accounts? …

At the bedside of every beloved newborn, an audience awaits. Sometimes, mom and dad bear witness to the miracle of new life. Such was the case with Joseph and Mary—at first. But like most parents, they soon welcomed guests—perhaps the most unexpected and unusual nursery visitors ever.  For not only did these strangers elbow their way into a family occasion, but they were…