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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Imagine Mary's letter

What would she tell family and friends?

The annual family Christmas letter is either an emerging American art form or the greatest source of holiday jokes since the fruitcake. It just depends on the circles in which you travel.

That’s just what I was doing a few days after Christmas: traveling along a particularly mind-numbing stretch of Interstate 78 in central Pennsylvania when I began to speculate on what Mary and Joseph’s Christmas letter would have looked like. (Yes, I know, Mary and Joseph didn’t even know it was Christmas. And perhaps neither one could read or write. But this is one of those situations calling for poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “willing suspension of disbelief.”)

As in most families, it would have fallen to Mary to write the letter. Joseph would have been busy with the carpenter shop and all. Given her pregnancy and the unexpected trip, it probably would have been dated in early January, as mine occasionally have been.


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October issue

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