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Jesus’ birth usually gets far more attention than its role in the New Testament warrants. Christmas looms large in our culture, outshining even Easter in the popular mind. Yet without Matthew 1—2 and Luke 1—2 we would know nothing about it. Paul’s gospel includes Jesus’ Davidic descent, but apart from that could exist without mention of his birth. One can be justified by faith with no knowledge of it. Likewise, John’s wonderful theological edifice has no need of it: God’s glory is revealed, not in the manger, but on the cross. …

If the first two chapters of Matthew and the first two of Luke had never existed, I do not suppose that my own Christian faith, or that of the church to which I belong, would have been very different.

N.T. Wright, The Meaning of Jesus, pgs. 171, 178