Luke 2:1-20

Commentary Excerpt by Tom Boomershine

This is a story of great joy with the promise of peace. However, the telling of this story should not be romantic. It is not all about warm fuzzies. There are warm fuzzy moments in the story, but it is also highly political. It is a story that is embedded in the political history of Israel in the first century.

For storytelling purposes, I have made significant modifications to the NRSV translation of this story. I have changed words in order to preserve verbal threads, to have as few words as possible, and also to maintain as many of the connotations of this story from the history of translation as possible. Specifically, I have kept "swaddling clothes" rather than "bands of cloth" and " manger" rather than "feeding trough." I agree with the NRSV that"registration" is a better translation than “enrollment.” Note the rhythm of the geography in my sound map: "They went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem."

The memory structures in this story really make a big difference if you notice them in learning the story. There are seven episodes, so as usual it's a good idea to focus on the structure. If you focus on that structure, this is an easy story to learn. The major issue will be making modifications in the translation that we already know. The sound map that I have provided in the structuring of the story in episodes will help to identify those things.

To read the rest of this commentary, please visit 

Other resources available on

Audio telling of the story, Soundmap, Audio commentary, Original Image - 

Get in touch

Network of Biblical Storytellers International
Indiana Interchurch Center, 1100 W. 42nd St., Suite 160, Indianapolis, IN 46208

TF 1 (800) 355-6627 | PH 1 (317) 931-2352 |

Find out more about us:

Join Our Mail List