As I was thinking about what to write this Christmas season the following quote came to my attention: "It has been rightly said that the history of the world hinges on a stable door in Bethlehem. The birth of Jesus in a little stable in Bethlehem forever changed the history of the world. Jesus was God with skin on, walking among us and showing us what God is like. He was not a man who became God, which is impossible, but God who became a man," as attributed to Greg Laurie
No matter what the skep-tics may say, the birth, life and teaching of Jesus and his crucifixion, death and resurrection are stubborn facts of history, attested to every time we write a date. For instance this column is dated December 13, 2012 (AD or - Anno Domini, "Year of our Lord" in English).
The classical Christian apologist Michael Grant writes: "In recent years, no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus, or at any rate, very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant evidence to the contrary."
Nothing can explain the unique place of Jesus in human history apart from His being indeed and in truth the Son of God.
Great men and women have come and gone, some becoming famous for the good things they said and did and some for the evil.
Kings, generals, philosophers, musicians, men of letters, scientists, yes, even founders of world religions, mightily changed their own epochs, some leaving benefits to posterity, but none escaped the divine edict, "It is appointed unto men once to die and after that the judgment" (Heb. 9: 27).
Only of Jesus can it still be said "He lives."
It is true that terrible things have been done by those purporting to represent Jesus or His church.
Jesus warned that this would happen, but that does not negate all the good that has accrued to our culture by faithful disciples walking in His ways.
Let me harken back a bit to when I was young, in the 1930s and 40s
We were a much more law-abiding society then, the reason being that our forbears were God-fearing people who had been taught, and taught us the moral principles of the Bible, the Ten Commandments, as well as the teachings of Jesus. They also believed and taught us that we weren't free to just live as we pleased because we were ultimately accountable to a higher authority, i.e. God.
As a result, there was less crime. We never locked the doors of our house. We had a car and never locked that either, neither at home nor downtown. Burglar alarms were unknown, except in the bank or maybe the jew-elry store.
By and large children were taught to respect and obey their parents and to respect their elders, whether neighbours, teachers or the police. Attending church and Sunday school was the norm and the Bible was taught, believed and lived out by many.
Let us not forget Jesus, the reason for the season.
- Bert Warden is a retired C&MA pastor and a member of Sevenoaks Alliance Church in Abbotsford.