Series: Jesus of Nazareth
Publisher: Image (2012)
Hardcover (127 pages)
Reading Challenges: 2015 Alphabet Soup, 2015 What's In A Name?, Read 2015
New York Times Bestseller! The momentous third and final volume in the Pope’s international bestselling Jesus of Nazareth series, detailing how the stories of Jesus’ infancy and childhood are as relevant today as they were two thousand years ago.
In 2007, Joseph Ratzinger published his first book as Pope Benedict XVI in order “to make known the figure and message of Jesus.” Now, the Pope focuses exclusively on the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life as a child. The root of these stories is the experience of hope found in the birth of Jesus and the affirmations of surrender and service embodied in his parents, Joseph and Mary. This is a story of longing and seeking, as demonstrated by the Magi searching for the redemption offered by the birth of a new king. It is a story of sacrifice and trusting completely in the wisdom of God as seen in the faith of Simeon, the just and devout man of Jerusalem, when he is in the presence of the Christ child. Ultimately, Jesus’ life and message is a story for today, one that speaks to the restlessness of the human heart searching for the sole truth which alone leads to profound joy.
I was planning to wait until Advent to read this short volume on the Biblical Infancy Narratives. However, I read it in the week leading up to Advent. What a great way to prepare for the Advent season!
I’m sharing this with you now because the Infancy Narratives do not start or end with the Nativity. In fact, Pope Benedict XVI starts with the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist. This is over a year before the birth of Jesus.
Following the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist, we move to the Annunciation to Mary. This is about six months after the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist. From this point, Mary travels to visit her cousin, Elizabeth. After the birth of John, Mary returns to Nazareth.
It is then that Joseph is told of the coming birth of Jesus via a message from an angel in his dream. A census is called and Joseph must take Mary to Bethlehem to register. Pope Benedict XVI says that is likely because Joseph must have owned land in Bethlehem.
We all know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. The singing angels announced His birth to the shepherds in the fields. The poor shepherds of Bethlehem are the first to adore the Infant King. I love the symbolism Pope Benedict XVI pulls from this.
We then hear the story of where the three Magi came from. There is quite a bit about the Star of Bethlehem and the origins of the Magi. This was really interesting to read.
Next we have the Flight into Egypt and then the return to Nazareth. The Infancy Narratives themselves end with the travel to Jerusalem, the loss of the child Jesus, and the finding of Jesus in the Temple. So the Infancy Narratives begin with the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist and end when Jesus is about twelve years old.
In all, I loved this book! Pope Benedict XVI writes wonderfully and I love the new insight he gives into the stories we are all so familiar with. I highly recommend this book to all Christians. It is always wonderful to meditate on the life of Our Lord Jesus.
I wish you all a marvelous Christmas season!
- You Read How Many Books? Reading Challenge
- Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge (Z)
- What’s In A Name? Reading Challenge (a city)