Canada Lutheran
The Magazine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

Early Legends About Jesus’ Birth and Childhood

Early Legends About Jesus' Birth and Childhood: Written to Give Hope and Meaning

Only two gospels, Matthew and Luke, contain stories of Jesus’ birth, infancy and youth. These gospels provide a few narratives about the events surrounding Jesus’ nativity, but nothing about his childhood except for Luke’s story of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple.

“The Protoevangelium of James grants to young Mary some of the characteristics of Jesus found in the Gospels. The message is clear: Mary is a worthy mother of the Lord and an ideal role model.”

The December 2017 issue of Canada Lutheran dives into the many tales surrounding the early life of Jesus Christ. Lutheran Theological Seminary’s Rev. Dr. Kristine Ruffatto perfectly encapsulates countless texts from the Bible to the Huron Carol, to Gnostic infancy legends and many other children’s narratives, focusing on the many themes of young Jesus’ early life, in a period of time where accurate biological recollection was sparse.

– Feature story illustrations provided by Frances Tyrrell (

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As the magazine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, the mission of Canada Lutheran is to engage the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada in a dynamic dialogue in which information, inspiration and ideas are shared in a thoughtful and stimulating way.

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