This might seem a bit on the late slide in terms of the church year, but Raymond Brown's slim An Adult Christ at Christmas was the required winter break reading and paper topic for my spiritual direction program, and I'm still finishing up the paper. That being the case, I'll offer the introduction and a bit of the conclusion from the current draft of my paper. Don't worry ~ I won't torture you with the whole thing!
"When we celebrate Christmas, we tend to merge the various elements of the gospel stories of Jesus’s birth along with various cultural traditions and practices with little thought to their origins or to the accuracy with which they reflect the events we honor. Raymond Brown’s An Adult Christ at Christmas is designed to counteract that tendency by explicating the theology of the narratives in Matthew and Luke through the chronology of gospel writing and the literary shape given the two infancy narratives by their authors.
Brown makes the critically specific point that the gospels reflect the experiences and views of the post-Resurrection Christian community. **** In the context of Ignatian spiritual direction in which imagination is such a key component, it is helpful to keep in mind that in the writing of the gospels themselves, the events reported were being imaginatively reshaped and assessed in the context of the post-Jesus experience of the writers. "
If you enjoy scriptureal exegesis, this is a nice little book for use in preparation for Advent ~ a preparing-to-prepare book!