I was discussing this with a friend the other day, and thought it might be worthwhile to post about. There are two versions of Jesus’ birth in the Bible. The authors of Mark and John decided it wasn’t important enough to write about, but Luke and Matthew have very different stories. So, let’s start with Matthew. Matthew 2 has the story about the wise men from the East. It has Herod killing all of the first born, and it has an escape to Egypt. It has no shepherds and no census. Now let’s turn to Luke.
Luke 2 has the shepherds and the census, but makes no mention of killing all of the first born. The census is the worst thing Herod does.
That’s not to say there is nothing in common between the stories. Both have Jesus born in the City of David, which I suspect was a spiritual necessity. Both have Jesus growing up in Nazareth in Galilee, which I suspect was a historical necessity.
Is this old news? It proves once again that a literalistic view of the Bible is unacceptable, but does it do anything to your faith? What do you take from the stories?