Have you ever heard the term “Infancy Narratives”? The Infancy Narratives are the stories in the Gospels about the conception, birth and childhood of Jesus. These stories make up a very small part of the Gospels, so we actually know very little about Jesus’ infancy and childhood.
Here are a few interesting facts about the Infancy Narratives:
- Only Matthew and Luke include Infancy Narratives in their Gospels (Matt. 1-2; Lk. 1-2).
- Matthew’s account and Luke’s account are very different from each other. For example, in Luke’s account, the annunciation (announcement of the conception of Jesus) is made to Mary, but in Matthew’s account, it is made to Joseph.
- Our traditional nativity scenes or creches are usually a combination of the stories from Luke and Matthew. For example, in Luke’s Gospel, the first visitors to see Jesus are shepherds. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus’ first visitors are the magi.
- Although there are many differences among the two Infancy Narratives, they agree in essential content: Mary has conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and her son will be a savior, the Son of God.
If you are interested in learning more about the Infancy Narratives and want the opportunity to retreat with these texts and reflect on their meaning in your own life, I’m giving an Advent Retreat entitled “Reflecting on the Birth of Jesus in Scripture and in Our Lives” at St. Thomas Beckett Church on Sat., December 3, from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. All are welcome! Registration information can be found here: Upcoming Programs.