Dive deep into the history of the birth of Christ.
Advent is not only the perfect time to read the story of the birth of Jesus; it’s also a great time to dive deeper into the biblical texts that surround the event. In Light of the World: A Beginner’s Guide to Advent, author, professor, and biblical scholar Amy-Jill Levine shows how the Gospel narratives connect to the Old Testament; highlights the role of women in first-century Jewish culture; and emphasizes the importance of Mary’s visitation, the census, the stable, the star of Bethlehem, and the flight to Egypt.
In Session 1, Amy-Jill Levine discusses Luke’s story of Zechariah and Elizabeth, the infertile couple who become miraculously pregnant with John the Baptist. Levine describes how the Angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah, and how Elizabeth’s pregnancy echoes that of other Old Testament matriarchs. She shows how these events lead up to the pregnancy of Mary and Luke’s Christmas story.
Running Time: 9:54
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In Session 2, Amy-Jill Levine explores the events around the annunciation to Mary from the Angel Gabriel. Mary arrives to visit Elizabeth, and the two celebrate their pregnancies. Levine places these characters in the context of Old Testament stories and shows how Luke references these texts. Mary’s song of praise, the Magnificat, is also explored.
Running Time: 13:12
In Session 3, Amy-Jill Levine explains how the census led Mary and Joseph to travel from their home to Bethlehem. Focusing on the historical details surrounding them, Levine follows the story of their journey and the eventual birth of Jesus in the stable. She uncovers Luke’s symbolism as she discusses the birth and the visit from the shepherds, showing how Jesus’ future life is prefigured in the details of his birth.
Running Time: 9:47
In Session 4, Amy-Jill Levine reveals the history of the Magi in Matthew’s story of Jesus’ birth. She discusses the star that led the Magi, their visit to Mary and Joseph, and the meanings of their gifts. Focusing on the story’s historical context, Levine teaches how Herod’s commands set the stage for Jesus’ life and the events to follow.
Running Time: 13:04