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Sunday, 30 December 2007

Luke on Christmas and the Empire

In comments yesterday on the politics of Christmas in Luke, I forgot to mention that the story is located explicitly in the midst of empire. A census is being undertaken to establish the base for revenue and the rake-offs by the various organs of political authority at local and regional levels.

The language of the Christmas story is spare, stark and edgy - there is nothing sentimental here - Mary is told that a "sword would pierce her heart". How did we get into the sentimental mode in which the festival becomes a warm celebration of family insulated by an unrelenting consumption from the reality of life for much of the world and hiding from ourselves the reality of dysfunctional relationships.

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