Celebrating Christmas, All of It, with Full Conviction

In the opening verses of Luke's gospel, Luke tells Theophilus his reason for writing: "So that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed" (NRSV). As is so often the case with scripture, there is more to this statement than meets the eye. As we race through the final days of Christmas preparations, let us take a few minutes, Mary-like (Luke 2:19), to ponder.

As literal a translation from the Greek as I can make of this Luke 1:4 clause goes something like this: "...in order that, concerning the points on which you have been instructed [catechized], you may know [the truth] with certainty." The Greek word for truth, aletheia, does not appear in the text, but it is clearly implied. The word for instruction or instructed, katekethe, gives us our word, catechesis. Having this additional color to the bare statement helps us get the sense that Luke writes this gospel to help Theophilus - and us - feel the confidence of knowing that we have been...

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