Relief Society Lesson 25: The Birth of Jesus Christ: “Good Tidings of Great Joy”

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Mary nativity

Mary nativity

 

To quote the Teachings of Joseph F. Smith manual:

“There is no story quite as beautiful, or which can stir the soul of the humble quite to the depths, as this glorious story can of the birth of our Redeemer. No words that man may utter can embellish or improve or add to the eloquence of its humble simplicity. It never grows old no matter how often told, and the telling of it is by far too infrequent in the homes of men.”

If I were teaching this lesson, I would do exactly – talk of the birth of Christ.  And not of the shepherds, or Joseph, or the wise men, but the person who was the intimately and physically involved in the birth of Christ: Mary.  In my experience at Christmas-time at church, we often want to gloss over the experiences of Mary as the mother and life-giver in favor of celebrating Christ and the meaning of his life and teachings.  I don’t think this is necessarily inappropriate, but since we (hopefully) devote the other 51 weeks of our Sunday worship to the teachings of Christ, I’d like to talk a little about the brave woman who gave Christ life.

What do we know about Mary?  You could encourage class members to give examples from memory, or you could use some of the following scriptures to flesh out some of her characteristics:

  • Mary was highly favored of the Lord, and experienced a vision in her youth (Luke 1:26-28)
  • Mary, despite being initially troubled by this vision, had bold faith in the impossible (Luke 1:29-31,38)
  • Mary sought comfort and companionship among women (Luke 1:39-40)
  • Mary bore testimony, and spoke prophetically (Luke 1:46-55).  It is worth noting here that she prophesies that all generations henceforth will call her “blessed,” which is partly why I think she needs to be spoken of and celebrated more often in our church services.

Many more examples can be found in Deborah’s post, “Something About Mary,” as well as in the “Mary, Mother of Jesus” section of The Guide to the Scriptures on lds.org.

I would also point out that all of the aforementioned qualities are things that are not directly related to her being a mother – all women, whether they are mothers or not, can be inspired by the tremendous faith of Mary when she was asked to do something very, very hard.

What do we know about Mary’s pregnancy and birth?  Sadly, the scriptures don’t divulge much on this topic.  And frankly, given that the scriptures were written by male scribes and that men were historically prohibited from attending births due to Jewish law (yoledet), it’s not surprising that Luke is lean on details here.  But in all four gospels, we only get one verse that actually deals with the birth of Christ:

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7)

So what we do know is that Mary and Joseph were turned away from at least one inn.  This has always led me to wonder – if Mary and Joseph were going back to Bethlehem, where Joseph is from, then why weren’t they staying with family?  Were they turned away because her pregnancy didn’t line up with the dates of her marriage rituals?  I suppose that there could have been family there – I would hope that there was at least one midwife, as was common in that time period.  Or was Mary totally alone?  It doesn’t say that Mary – with the help of family members and a team of midwives and perhaps a good, solid birthing stool – brought forth her firstborn son.  It simply says that she did it – Mary did it.  Could it be that Mary was totally alone in this monumental task, possibly prefiguring Christ alone in Gethsemane and on the cross?  Are there other ways in which Mary’s life foreshadows the life of Christ?

We do know that Mary was present and involved in Jesus’ life as a child and adolescent, and that she taught him the ways of God: she and Joseph took him to the temple to present the new baby to the Lord (Luke 2:22-23), she and Joseph brought Jesus back to Jerusalem every year for Passover (Luke 2:41), and she sorrowed over him as a 12 year-old when they couldn’t find him for three days (Luke 2:43-48).  We also know, however, that Mary was humble and willing to learn from her son – “And [Jesus] went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.” (Luke 2:51, emphasis added)  We also know that, when Jesus was very young, Mary and Joseph were instructed to flee into Egypt to avoid the massacre of all of the children in Israel under the age of two (Matthew 2:13-16).  

We also know that Mary outlived her son – she was present at Christ’s crucifixion.  Some of the few words that were recorded from Christ on the cross are ensuring the continual care of his mother:

“When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.” (John 19:26-27)

The agony of seeing your firstborn child – the child whose life was announced to you by an angel of God – crucified as a common thief is something that I don’t think any of us can fully comprehend.  Mary sacrificed so much for Jesus – she was a pillar of faith, of learning, of protection, and of humility.  She endured the pain of social scorn, the pain of traveling from Nazareth to Bethlehem while very pregnant, the pain of (possibly unassisted) childbirth, the pain of fleeing into Egypt, the pain of losing him temporarily as a young boy, and now she had to endure the pain of seeing her child -whom she knew to be the literal son of God – mocked, tortured, and nailed to a cross.

Again, quoting Joseph F. Smith,

“What of this wonderful story? Have we permitted it to permeate and influence our lives? Have we accepted it in its full meaning without reservations?”

What can we learn from Mary?  How can she be an example to us?  What aspects of her life and her faith can we incorporate into our own?  How can we honor her in our lives, and fulfill her prophecy that “all generations shall call [her] blessed?”

In closing, I would reiterate Joseph F. Smith’s question – have we permitted the story of Mary and the birth of Christ to permeate and influence our lives?  I would also bear testimony of the lessons we can learn from Mary, and ask us all to take this season to ponder her life and her example in our hearts.

Leçon de la Société de Secours 25 : La naissance de Jésus-Christ : « Une bonne nouvelle sujet d’une grande joie »

Tiré du manuel :

« Il n’est pas d’histoire aussi belle ou qui puisse inspirer l’âme des humbles aussi profondément que cette merveilleuse histoire de la naissance de notre Rédempteur. Aucune parole prononcée par les hommes ne peut embellir, améliorer ou ajouter à l’éloquence de son humble simplicité. Elle ne vieillit jamais, quel que soit le nombre de fois où elle est racontée et on ne la raconte pas assez souvent dans les foyers des hommes. »

Si je devais enseigner cette leçon, je ferais exactement cela : parler de la naissance du Christ. Mais pas des bergers ou de Joseph ou des rois mages, ENFANT-JESUS-CHRIST-ET-MARIEmais de la personne qui a été intimement et physiquement impliquée dans la naissance du Christ : Marie. Dans mon expérience à Noël dans l’Eglise, nous voulons souvent passer au-dessus les expériences de Marie en tant que mère et donneuse de vie en faveur du Christ et la signification de sa vie et de ses enseignements. Je ne pense pas que cela soit inapproprié, mais comme nous dédions les autres 51 dimanches de l’année aux enseignements du Christ (ou au moins je l’espère), je voudrais parler un peu de la femme courageuse qui a donné la vie au Christ.

Que savons-nous de Marie? Encourager les sœurs à donner des exemples ou bien lire quelques Ecritures qui parle de sa personnalité ::

  • Marie a reçu une grâce du Seigneur et a eu une vision dans sa jeunesse (Luc 1:26-28)
  • Marie avait la foi en l’impossible, malgré ses sentiments troubles par cette vision (Luc 1:29-31, 38)
  • Marie a cherché du réconfort et la compagnie des autres femmes (Luc 1:39-40)
  • Marie a témoigné et a prophétisé (Luc 1:46-55). Il faut noter qu’elle prophétise que toutes les générations l’appellera « bienheureuse, » ce qui est l’une des raisons pour lesquelles je pense qu’on devrait parler plus d’elle.

D’autres exemples de trouvent dans l’article écrit par Déborah,”Something About Mary,” (lien en anglais) ainsi que dans la section, “Marie, la mère de Jésus” dans la Guide des Ecritures sur lds.org.

Je mettrais l’accent sur le fait que ces qualités ne sont directement liées à la maternité. Toutes les femmes, mères ou pas, peuvent être inspirées par la foi de Marie quand on lui a demandé de faire quelque chose de très, très difficile.

Que savons-nous de sa grossesse et de son accouchement? Malheureusement les Ecritures ne parlent pas beaucoup de ce sujet, ce qui n’est pas surprenant étant donné que la culture de l’époque interdisaient la présence des hommes à l’accouchement. Donc dans les quatre Evangiles, nous n’avons qu’un verset qui en parle :

« Et elle enfanta son fils premier-né. Elle l’emmaillota, et le coucha dans une crèche, parce qu’il n’y avait pas de place pour eux dans l’hôtellerie. » (Luc 2 :7)

Ce que nous savons est que Marie et Joseph ont été renvoyés d’au moins un auberge. Je me suis toujours demandée pourquoi, si Joseph venait de Bethléem, ils ne logeaient pas avec de la famille ? Est-ce que c’était à cause de sa grossesse ? J’espère aussi qu’elle avait une sagefemme présente à l’accouchement, ce qui était le coutume à l’époque. Ou est-ce que

Marie était seule ?Les Ecritures ne nous disent pas comment elle a mis son fils au monde, seulement qu’elle l’a fait.

Nous savons aussi que Marie était présente et engagée dans la vie d’enfant et d’adolescent de Jésus, et qu’elle lui a enseigné les voies de Dieu. Elle l’a amené au temple pour le présenter au Seigneur (Luc 2 :22-23), elle l’a amené à Jérusalem chaque année pour Pâque (Luc 2:41), et elle s’inquiétais pour lui quand elle n’arrivait pas à le trouver pendant trois jour quand il avait 12 ans (Luc 2:43-48). Nous savons aussi que Marie était humble et disposée à apprendre de son fils : « Puis il descendit avec eux pour aller à Nazareth, et il leur était soumis. Sa mère gardait toutes ces choses dans son cœur. » (Luc 2 :51) Nous savons également que quand Jésus était très jeune, Marie et Joseph ont été dirigés de fuir en Egypte pour éviter le massacre de tous les enfants d’Israël en-dessous l’âge de 2 ans (Matthieu 2 :13-16).

Nous savons que Marie a survécu son fils, elle était présente à la crucifixion du Christ. Le Christ a parlé d’elle sur la croix pour s’assurer qu’on prendrait soin d’elle :

« Jésus, voyant sa mère, et auprès d’elle le disciple qu’il aimait, dit à sa mère: Femme, voilà ton fils. Puis il dit au disciple: Voilà ta mère. Et, dès ce moment, le disciple la prit chez lui. » (Jean 19 :26-27)

L’agonie de voir ton fils –le fils dont la naissance t’a été annoncée par un ange de Dieu—se faire crucifié comme un voleur est quelque chose qui est difficile à comprendre. Marie a sacrifié tellement pour Jésus, elle est un exemple de foi, d’apprentissage, de protection et d’humilité. Elle a enduré la douleur de mépris social, la douleur de l’accouchement, la douleur de la fuite en Egypte et maintenant le douleur de voir son enfant, qu’elle savait être le fils littéral de Dieu, moqué, torture et cloué sur une croix.

Je citerais encore le Président Smith :

« Qu’en est-il de cette histoire merveilleuse ? Lui avons-nous permis d’imprégner et d’influencer notre vie ? L’avons-nous acceptée sans réserve dans tout ce qu’elle signifie ? »

Que pouvons-nous apprendre de Marie? Comment peut-elle être un exemple pour nous ? Quels aspects de sa vie et de sa vie pouvons-nous incorporer dans notre vie ? Comment pouvons-nous l’honorer et réaliser la prophétie que “toutes les générations l’appelleront «bienheureuse ? »

Pour finir, je répèterais la question du Président Smith : avons-nous permis à l’histoire de Marie et de la naissance du Christ d’imprégner et d’influencer notre vie ? Je témoignerais des leçons que nous pouvons apprendre de Marie et demanderais aux sœurs et prendre un moment pendant cette saison de penser à sa vie et à son exemple.

 

 

 

Lección 25 de la Sociedad de Socorro

El Nacimiento de Jesucristo: “Buenas nuevas de gran gozo”

Citando el manual de las Enseñanzas de Joseph F. Smith:

“No hay una historia más hermosa, o que pueda agitar el alma de los humildes hasta a las profundidades, como esta historia gloriosa del nacimiento de nuestro Redentor. No hay palabras que el hombre pueda decir para embellecer o mejorar o añadir a la elocuencia de su humilde sencillez. No importa cuántas veces sea contada nunca pasa de moda y aun así su narración es poco frecuente en los hogares de los hombres”.

Si yo estuviera enseñando esta lección, eso es lo que haría exactamente – hablar del nacimiento de Cristo. Y no de los pastores, o José, o los sabios del oriente, sino de la persona que fue la más íntima y físicamente involucrada en el nacimiento de Cristo: María. En mi experiencia sobre la época de Navidad en la Iglesia, muchas veces pasamos por alto la experiencia de María como madre y dadora de vida junto a la celebración de Cristo y el significado de Su vida y enseñanzas. No creo que esto sea necesariamente inapropiado, pero ya que (espero) dedicamos las otras 51 semanas de nuestra adoración dominical a las enseñanzas de Jesús, me gustaría hablar un poco sobre la mujer valiente que dio vida a Cristo.

¿Qué sabemos acerca de María? Se podría alentar a los miembros de la clase a dar ejemplos de memoria, o usted podría utilizar algunos de los siguientes pasajes de las Escrituras para dar cuerpo a algunas de sus características:

  • María era altamente favorecida por el Señor, y tuvo una visión en su juventud (Lucas 1:26-28)

  • María, a pesar de estar asustada al principio por la visión, tuvo fe en lo imposible (Lucas 1:29-31, 38)

  • María buscó solaz y compañía entre otras mujeres (Lucas 1:39-40)

  • María dio testimonio y habló proféticamente (Lucas 1:46-55). Vale la pena notar que ella profetiza que todas las generaciones siguientes la llamaran “bendita”, por lo que creo que debería hablarse mas seguido de ella en nuestros servicios.

Pueden encontrar más ejemplos en el post de Deborah “Algo sobre María”, así como en la sección de Guía para las Escrituras en lds.org como “María, madre de Jesús”.

También me gustaría señalar que todas las cualidades antes mencionadas son las cosas que no están directamente relacionados con el ser madre – todas las mujeres, ya sean madres o no, pueden ser inspiradas por la tremenda fe de María cuando se le pidió que hiciera algo muy, muy duro.

¿Qué sabemos sobre el embarazo y el nacimiento de María? Tristemente, las Escrituras no hablan mucho sobre este tema. Y francamente, dado que las Escrituras fueron escritas por escribas hombres y que los hombres tenían históricamente prohibido asistir a los nacimientos debido a la ley judía (yoledet), no es de extrañar que Lucas falle en los detalles al respecto. Pero en los cuatro evangelios, sólo tenemos un versículo que en realidad se ocupa con el nacimiento de Cristo:

“Y dio a luz a su hijo primogénito, y lo envolvió en pañales y lo acostó en un pesebre, porque no había lugar para ellos en el mesón” (Lucas 2:7)

Así que lo que sí sabemos es que María y José fueron rechazados de al menos una posada. Esto siempre me ha llevado a preguntarme –si María y José iban de regreso a Belén, de donde José era originario, entonces ¿por qué no se alojaron con su familia? ¿Fueron rechazados porque el embarazo no coincidía con la fecha de los rituales de matrimonio? Supongo que podría haber tenido familia allí. Yo esperaría que hubiera por lo menos una partera, como era común en ese período de tiempo. ¿O estaba María totalmente sola? No dice que María diera a luz con la ayuda de miembros de su familia y un equipo de parteras y tal vez un buen y sólido taburete de parto. Simplemente dice que lo hizo –María lo hizo. ¿Podría ser que María estuviera totalmente sola en esta tarea monumental? ¿Posiblemente, prefigurando a Cristo sólo en el Getsemaní y en la cruz? ¿Hay otras formas en que la vida de María prefigura la vida de Cristo?

Sabemos que María estaba presente e involucrada en la vida de Jesús como niño y adolescente, y que ella le enseñó los caminos de Dios: ella y José lo llevaron al templo para presentar el nuevo bebé al Señor (Lucas 2:22 -23), ella y José llevaban a Jesús de regreso a Jerusalén todos los años para la Pascua (Lucas 2:41), y ella se entristeció cuando no pudieron encontrar durante tres días (Lucas 2: 43- 48) a Jesús, siendo aún un niño de 12 años de edad. También sabemos, sin embargo, que María era humilde y estaba dispuesta a aprender de su hijo –“Y [Jesús] descendió con ellos, y vino a Nazaret, y estaba sujeto a ellos. Y su madre guardaba todas estas cosas en su corazón.” (Lucas 2:51, énfasis añadido) También sabemos que, cuando Jesús era muy joven, María y José fueron instruidos para huir a Egipto para evitar la matanza de todos los niños en Israel bajo la edad de dos años (Mateo 2: 13-16).

También sabemos que María sobrevivió a su hijo –que estuvo presente en la crucifixión de Cristo. Algunas de las pocas palabras que se grabaron de Cristo en la cruz están asegurando el cuidado continuo de su madre:

“Y cuando vio Jesús a su madre y al discípulo a quien él amaba, que estaba presente, dijo a su madre: Mujer, he ahí tu hijo. Después dijo al discípulo: He ahí tu madre. Y desde aquella hora el discípulo la recibió en su casa.” (Juan 19:26-27)

La agonía de ver a su hijo primogénito –el niño cuya vida le había sido anunciada por un ángel de Dios- crucificado como un ladrón común es algo que yo no creo que ninguna de nosotras puede comprender plenamente. María sacrificó tanto por Jesús –ella era un pilar de fe, aprendizaje, protección y humildad. Ella soportó el dolor de desprecio social, el dolor del viaje de Nazaret a Belén cuando estaba embarazada, el dolor del parto (posiblemente sin ayuda), el dolor de huir a Egipto, el dolor de perderlo temporalmente cuando era un niño, y ahora ella tenía que soportar el dolor de ver a su hijo –a quien ella sabía que era el hijo literal de Dios- recibir burlas, ser torturado, y clavado en una cruz.

Una vez más, citando a Joseph F. Smith,

“¿Qué aprendemos de esta maravillosa historia? ¿Le hemos permitido permear e influir nuestras vidas? ¿La hemos aceptado en su sentido pleno y sin reservas?”

¿Qué podemos aprender de María? ¿Cómo puede ser un ejemplo para nosotras? ¿Qué aspectos de su vida y su fe podemos incorporar en nuestra propia vida? ¿Cómo podemos honrarla en nuestras vidas, y cumplir su profecía de que “todas las generaciones (la) llamarán bendita”?

Para terminar, me gustaría reiterar la pregunta de Joseph F. Smith: ¿Hemos permitido que la historia de María y el nacimiento de Cristo influya en nuestras vidas? También me gustaría dar testimonio de las lecciones que podemos aprender de María, y extiendo la invitación para que usemos esta temporada para reflexionar sobre su vida y su ejemplo en nuestro corazón.

Liz

Liz is a reader, writer, wife, mother, gardener, social worker, story collector, cookie-maker, and hug-giver.

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9 Responses

  1. Em says:

    I like it when it says that Mary kept these things and pondered them in her heart — I think it also says it about all the wonders and signs around the birth itself. She was introspective.
    I sometimes wonder what their culture was like when it comes to marriage and pregnancy. Did she feel awkward and left out, when other women got together to chat and assumed she had sexual experience because she was pregnant, when in fact she had no clue? Did that make the prospect of childbirth all the more terrifying? I think we tend to assume, in our modern way, that Joseph was some kind of perfect birthing coach, by her side through all those night hours while stars were gleaming and shepherds dreaming. But if he was prohibited from attending birth, would he have had to wait outside? And even if he did come in, how helpful could someone who had never seen or studied childbirth, having probably only a rudimentary knowledge of the mechanics be? I like to think that maybe angels came along to help out. They explained how she got pregnant, and helped her cope with that. Hopefully they would help her in practical ways, as well as singing hark.

    I love the Christmas story, and I am glad it is in the book. I hope (probably futilely) that leaders will have the common sense to put this lesson as close to Christmas as possible so we have a meaningful service that day.

  2. Penny says:

    I love Christmas for many reasons, one being that it gives us Mormons one of the few opportunities to incorporate Mary into our lessons, scripture study, and Sacrament meetings. Unfortunately we’ve inherited the Protestant aversion towards this very remarkable woman and feel it only appropriate to take her off her shelf but once a year.

    What struck me about this post was your reflection on Mary outliving her son. What a tragic thing for any parent to experience. My family is reeling from the recent diagnoses of my nephews with a genetic disorder that will dramatically change the course of their lives. My brother and sister in law will outlive their children. When we re-frame the Christmas story and the life of Christ as the story of a parent losing a child, it gives me, even in this very dark time, a small piece of comfort knowing that our Savior’s mother knows their suffering.

  3. spunky says:

    It is so refreshing to read a lesson that is in celebration of a woman in the scriptures. However as someone who can’t, and never will have children, this was a very uncomfortable lesson plan for me. It is the kind of lesson plan that triggers me to stop attending Relief Society.

    I love your posts, Liz, and I don’t intend this to be critical in the least; I am being critical of the Mormon focus on motherhood, which is often epitomised at Christmas through Mary. I this thought, I love that you included the following:

    “I would also point out that all of the aforementioned qualities are things that are not directly related to her being a mother – all women, whether they are mothers or not, can be inspired by the tremendous faith of Mary when she was asked to do something very, very hard.” But after this sentence is discussion of her as the woman who gave birth to Christ…which makes it feel a little under-developed, or perhaps it is because I have never thought of her as being asked to do something hard. Even though the points mentioned before are are not maternally-related, the maternal focus on Mary at the start of the lesson does little to redirect or develop anything but the maternal focus of Mary’s life.

    Because of this, I personally would start the lesson in discussing the list of Mary’s non-maternal attributes. As it is, it would be easy for teachers to skip, so say as a toss-away line or a stepping stone to hurdle on one’s path back to focusing on motherhood. So. I would emphasise and discuss how and why we should be inspired by Mary. As a woman who cannot and will never have children, I do not see inspiration in the tremendous faith of Mary at face value, when placed in the centre of a lesson. I think I could probably tease out a degree of empathy in regard to this, but I need help. The single sentence here is not enough to make me feel like childless, non-birthing women really are included in the lesson, or in the church at all. Simply put: after years of exceptionally invasive infertility treatments, I struggle to see how what Mary was asked to do was “very, very hard” —virgin conception sounds pretty uncomplicated and beautiful compared to IVF! So I would need a well-inspired teacher to direct the lesson in this important line of thought. I have yet to meet that teacher, and would probably excuse myself from this lesson as is, and not go back to Relief Society for a time as a matter of emotional and spiritual survival.

    I personally much more readily relate to Elisabeth, Mary’s cousin. Both Mary and Joseph needed angels to tell them what was going on. But Elisabeth knew of Mary’s miraculous conception without the need of an angel to tell her (Luke 1:41-3: …Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost, and she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?). I relate to Elisabeth because she spent a lonely lifetime before becoming pregnant, and because perhaps she was not chosen (as was Mary in Alma 7:10), but that Elisabeth earned her way to motherhood after a lifetime of tears. That appeals so very much more to me, not only in regard to motherhood, but in regard to earning one’s way—in education, in physical fitness, in anything we want to accomplish—including eternal life. Nothing is handed to us. And that is okay. Celestial, even.

    Anyway. I appreciate this lesson much more than the male-centred focus of pretty much all of the other Joseph Fielding Smith’s impersonal lessons. But I also am compelled to shout out for infertile women, and offer praise to my personal biblical hero, Elisabeth.

    • Liz says:

      No offense taken, Spunky. I admit that I recognized how uncomfortable this lesson could be for some women, and I wasn’t quite sure how to overcome it while also keeping the lesson about the birth of Jesus Christ. I wanted to talk about Mary, but I see your points in the drawbacks.

      Any chance you want to write a post about Elisabeth? Because I’d really love to read it.

  4. Ashley says:

    I really love your lesson helps! You are so good at putting thoughts together!! Not to be too Ancy, but Are you going to do one for 26?

    • Liz says:

      Sadly, we didn’t get one done in time! I’m sorry! But we’re already planning for next year’s lessons, so hopefully we’ll get most of them in 2015!

  5. angie says:

    Wonderful post! Our teacher last week also had us focus on Mary, at least for the first part of her lesson.

    I have a couple of observations to add:
    1. “… no room for them in the inn.” The Greek word used for “inn” here is “kataluma”, which means guestchamber. This makes me think that Joseph & Mary tried to stay with relatives, but maybe they arrived later than everyone else so all the guest rooms were full. The only other reference to “inn” in the NT is in the parable of the Good Samaritan, and a different Greek word is used that means “caravansary” or “place of lodging”. Note that an innkeeper is mentioned, unlike in the case of Joseph & Mary. Imagine a difficult journey at 9 months pregnant, stopping to rest along the way, counting on staying with your relatives, only to find out that all their guest rooms are full. I hope it was a relative who provided shelter.
    2. The hint of illegitimacy continued, and maybe affected Mary as much as Jesus. Jesus is almost always referred to as the son of Mary. Luke 3:23 says he was supposedly the son of Joseph. In John 8:41, some critics call out to Jesus, “We were not born of fornication” and you can almost think they meant “like you were”.
    3. Mary, other women, and Jesus’ brothers were present with the apostles in the upper room of Acts 1:14. That’s something to think about.

  6. Cruelest Month says:

    My RS did a lecture with musical numbers version of this lesson today. The musical numbers were nice. But lectures are boring. I enjoyed meditating on Mary and Elizabeth. Thanks for a thoughtful lesson and all of the wonderful comments. It was my first time in RS since Kate Kelly’s excommunication. I needed the extra support that this lesson plan provided.

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