Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Birth of Jesus of Nazareth

A few thoughts about Jesus of Nazareth, whose birth my family will celebrate today and tomorrow...

Even 2000 years later, more people celebrate this one man's birth than that of any other person who has ever lived.

More works of art have been inspired by Jesus' life and death than that of anyone else.

More songs--by far--have been made about Him than about any other. Indeed, the number of songs about his birth far eclipse the songs about any other great person.

The vast majority of all the hospitals, orphanages, and universities of this world have been founded by His followers, as was the great nation in which I live.

From a purely historical perspective, no life has had a greater impact on the world. When He died, his followers, a small, ragtag band of uneducated fisherman and peasants, outcasts in an insignificant nation subjugated by the might of Rome, went into hiding, confused and disillusioned. But His death and subsequent bodily resurrection changed the course of history. Today, we name our pets Nero and Caesar, while we name our children after those first Christ-followers, John and James, Mary, Peter, Paul. Our dating system acknowledges His coming in the flesh as the central point in all of human history.

Everything about His life--and death--was prophesied centuries before the actual events. Though hardly recognized as royalty during His life, this Jesus alone (of all who have ever lived) was King over the universe before His birth and reigns as sovereign King over all ever since His resurrection.

The birth of Jesus, that paradoxical, humble, sinless, dying-and-rising-again, miracle-working, eternal God-man, was an actual historical event. And though we can't know for certain what the actual date was, we can rejoice with people of every nation and from throughout the centuries that God so loved us that He sent His Son to bring us life abundant and life eternal.

May you and yours experience the full meaning of the birth--and continuing life--of Jesus of Nazareth!

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