A piece of mine has just been posted over on the Theopolis Institute’s blog. Within it, I argue that the story of the gospels is the story of two births, that the nativity narratives should be read in parallel with the accounts of Christ’s death and resurrection:
Jesus was born of a virgin’s womb, of a woman who had lain with no man. Jesus was buried in a ‘virgin’ tomb, a grave in which no man had lain (Luke 23:53). When Jesus was born, he was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. When he died, he was wrapped in linen and laid in the tomb (it is worth bearing in mind that the manger probably looked like not unlike a stone coffin). Just as the story of Jesus’ birth began with Joseph and Mary, so the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection feature a new Joseph and Mary: Joseph of Arimathea and the various Marys at the cross and the tomb. I suspect we should also recognize parallels between the shepherds receiving the news of Christ’s birth and the apostolic ‘shepherds’ receiving the joyful tidings of the resurrection.
All these parallels are not merely for poetic effect: they alert us to significant symmetries between the event of Christ’s birth and the event of his birth and resurrection. In particular, they suggest that we should understand Christ’s death and resurrection as a new birth.
Read the whole thing here.