A more exact statement is to; Do Not Be Afraid! And we are indeed blessed with four different accounts of the Birth of Jesus. Each of the Gospel narratives have their own theology, creating a unique and somewhat different point of view. In this Year A, we come across Matthew’s encounter with the birth of Jesus. It is important to note and understand that Matthew was writing for a Jewish community—which is why he begins with the male aspect of the family, St. Joseph. Matthew places emphasis on the fact that Joseph is a man that is suffering from the news that Mary is indeed pregnant. And that it is not biologically of his line. Joseph is at a crossroads. What should he do? When we look at Luke’s account, which is at contrast, Mary becomes the central figure. Her fiat from the question posed by the Archangel Gabriel – this narrative is a much different angle of the story of the incarnation. You can see how the different accounts take on new meaning depending on which “lens” one looks through: In Matthew it is through the lens of Joseph, and in Luke’s account it is through Mary’s. The result is in fact the same, the one central difference is that instead of an excited young girl happy to give birth to the Messiah, we get the image of a man who is slightly shocked and saddened that his soon to be bride is pregnant. The one centralized focal point, and point of “unity” in the two differing account is when the angel says to Joseph, as when Gabriel said unto Mary, DO NOT BE AFRAID!
Matthew proclaims a lineage/ancestry of sorts for Jesus. This is not so that Jesus might be able to discover or come to discover things about his ancestors (human family), but rather so that we might come to better understand things about Christ that we should understand. Matthew speaks to us so that we can better understand who Jesus is from understanding HIS roots. This is accomplished in the opening words that are proclaimed, and then follows Christ’s “genealogy”—The Son of David- Son of Abraham. (It is in the Gospel of St Luke that this lineage is traced back even further, to Adam and Eve).
Matthew initially is proclaiming this message to Jewish Christians, bringing the news that Christ has been sent to fulfill the promises that were made to Abraham, the promise that came to David and to all those in his house. If, for Luke, Jesus the Christ is, more than Adam and infinitely more truly, the Son of God, for Matthew, Jesus the Christ is the fulfillment in human history of that salvation which began with Abraham. This is all presented to us through the coming of Christ, whom in indeed the Son of God and truly is the Son of Abraham, David, and of Mary.
We must reflect and remember that this lineage belongs to each one of us. For we each as Christians are reborn in and into Christ. The identity given and imposed on us in this fallen world, and through the history of sin, is abolished and washed clean. Our true nature and our purity is given once again to us through the rebirth into Christ – restoring us as a child of God.