Each of the Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John begin in very different ways. The Gospel of Matthew sums up the birth of Jesus in nine words: Mary bore a son and Joseph named him Jesus. The Gospel of Mark just skips over this whole birth narrative. Jesus arrives on the scene full grown! The Gospel of John, begins with a scene set in the Heavenly realm. Not a word about the birth. On the other hand, the writer of Luke gives us the full story of the birth the undiluted truth, not for one moment glossing over the cruel and harsh nature of existence in first century Palestine. Why does the Gospel of Luke go into such detail? Why do we have to hear the whole, ugly story? It could be that this birth narrative serves a purpose, telling us something important - something we need to understand about who Jesus is, and what his mission will be about. In this sermon, we explore those questions and consider what that might mean for us today.