Pastor’s Office Hours:
~ Tuesdays through Thursdays from 11 AM to 2 PM ~
December 13, 2018,
According to the Bible, around the years 6 – 4 BC, a child was born for all humanity and he is called Emmanuel which means “God with us.” His name was Jesus, which means, “God saves.” That was about two thousand twenty-three years ago. So what does that have to do with humanity today?
Some people think it is foolish to live your life based on a story that is over two thousand years old and which, based on human standards of proof, is beyond belief. A child born in a manger to a virgin mother? Angels appearing to shepherds and singing in the night sky? A new star leading persons of prominence directly to the child? It sounds like a fairy tale, but Jesus Christ was a real historical figure. The ancient Jewish historian, Josephus, refers to him in his historical writings.
Whether you take the accounts completely literally or completely metaphorically or a combination of fact and legend, Christmas is more than just the biblical account of Jesus’ birth. The account of Jesus Christ’s birth and ensuing life, death and resurrection is the account of a person who changed the world. It is the account of a person who changed the world, not by human political power, military strength, or human manipulation. Jesus changed the world by means of faith.
The story of Jesus from beginning to end is the story of how faith in God changes the world one life, one person at a time. Jesus’ faith in God changed the lives of his followers. His closest followers were raised up from common fishermen to become the leaders of a brand-new community; a community based on compassion, justice and kindness. Jesus’ faith in God raised the level of respect and dignity for women in this new community. Jesus’ faith raised up those who were previously considered outcasts to be fully included in this new community. Jesus’ faith raised up the standards of justice from retribution and punishment to reconciliation and restoration. Jesus’ faith in God created a new community that places less value on material transactions that elevate a few over the many and places more value on relational transactions that raise up everyone’s dignity and inherent worth; a community where members give of themselves and their resources in order to raise up those who are less fortunate both within and outside of their community.
Jesus was not born with special powers. Jesus came into the world a tiny little baby, just like all of us. But if you read the whole story, the baby Jesus in the manger went on to test the limits of what faith in God can do. Those of us who invest our lives in Jesus, who choose to live our lives based on a story that is over two thousand years old and which to some is beyond belief, do so because the story of Jesus shows the limitless possibilities of what faith in God can do to make the world a better place for everyone. It’s anything but foolish. It is very rational. These are changes that are only possible by means of faith, and not just any faith, but faith like that of Jesus. And that’s why we follow him and why everyone should.
Share the gift of faith this Christmas. Tell people what your faith in Jesus has done for you, for the world, and for others who are a part of Jesus’ beloved community. Then invite them to join you to discover the possibilities for themselves. Merry Christmas!
PS: Feel free to share this letter with them and use it as a conversation starter.