In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Luke 1:5
If I wrote, “A plane crashed into a building in Manhattan,” and that is all I wrote, some might think I’m reporting about the 1945 incident when a plane crashed into the Empire State Building. Others might think I’m referring to the 2001 attack on the Twin Towers. If all I wrote was, “A plane crashed into a building in Manhattan,” you might not know which incident I meant. A writer gives details to be clear. God wants his communication with us to be clear.
If I had mentioned who was mayor, governor, or president at the time of the plane crash, that would also be a way of making it clear when it happened. God gives us not only the truth of the gospel but he also gives us details.
In Genesis he tells us the rivers that ran through the Garden of Eden. The prophets began with who was reigning when the word of the Lord came to them. God gives details. These details help make it clear for those who believe and bolster our witness to others.
We are called to be witnesses. In the series Dragnet, when Joe Friday questioned a witness, he wanted the facts, just the facts. Details mattered. When a person is telling a story or trying to solve a problem or explain a mystery, details matter. As witnesses God has not only equipped us with the truth about the birth of our Savior but also with surrounding details.
Knowing who was king at that time or knowing the ancestry of someone does not bring one to faith. But having these historical facts detailed for us in the Holy Scriptures only bolsters our testimony as witnesses for the God of truth.
This Advent, remember the details. This Advent, share the details of our Savior’s birth.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the Word made flesh, our Savior, Jesus Christ. We thank you for the Holy Scriptures that announced his coming and told of his life and resurrection. We thank you for filling your Word with details so that we who were not there might be effective witnesses to your loving truth. Amen.
Rev. Aaron Robinson serves Martin Luther College as a professor of English and as cultural diversity coordinator.