Nativity scenes are strange to me. They’re strange because we’ve decided, against all evidence to the contrary, that we have to have the wise men from the east in attendance at Jesus’s birth. And, as Matthew 2 tells us, our stubborn insistence to include them at the nativity exposes our lack of understanding why we remember the wise men in the first place.
All the uncanny glory of the gospel is found in the business of the Incarnation. All its majesty is there, too. For it’s not just that the Christ child was born where beasts dwell, it’s that after he was born he was placed where beasts feed. The manger where Jesus was laid is, in fact, a signpost heralding the wideness of God’s mercy
Jesus’s parable of “The Good Samaritan” is, perhaps, the parable that has endured the most moralizing by Bible teachers and preachers. The moral of the story has become, “Which neighbor are you?” with the incentive and intention of making “good Samaritans” out of all of us. But was that Jesus’s point? Looking again at the context of Luke 10 will provide some surprising answers.