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A single child changed the world!

P: n/a
I am not a Christian. However, I am dedicated to exercising the
single most valuable God-given asset possessed by the human species:
Reason!
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If religiosity offends you, perhaps you better not read any further.
Although you would never know it from the displays in store windows
and public buildings, Christmas is, first and foremost, a religious
holiday. It is not meant to celebrate Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman
or Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer but the birth of Jesus Christ. And
the more I think about it, the more in awe I am of what happened some
2,000 years ago, how the birth of a single Child transformed the
world.

The birth of Jesus of Nazareth could not have been more inauspicious.
Forced by the Roman governor to participate in a census so that
officials in Rome could levy taxes, His parents traveled far from
their home to Bethlehem. There being no room at the inn, He was born
in a hovel used to shelter animals and placed in a manger to keep
warm. When He was still an infant, He fled with His parents to Egypt,
to avoid the slaughter of all male children under 2 years of age
ordered by King Herod, who feared that a Jewish child had been born in
Bethlehem who would one day challenge his rule. Jesus, Mary and Joseph
returned to Nazareth after Herod died, and the Boy led a quiet,
uneventful life, becoming a carpenter, like Joseph.

He spent only three years in public life, preaching, tending to the
sick, caring for the poor and gathering round Him an odd assortment of
men -- and women -- fishermen, prostitutes and housewives. He spoke
well of Samaritans, a group much reviled by the Jews of His time, and
of tax collectors, enjoining His followers to "render, therefore, to
Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God, the things that are
God's." He spoke out against revenge, "if someone strike thee on the
right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if anyone would go to law
with thee and take thy tunic, let him take thy cloak as well; and
whoever forces thee to go for one mile, go with him two."

He urged His followers to be observant in their religious duties, but
not to be "like the hypocrites, who love to pray standing in the
synagogues and at the street corners, in order that they may be seen
by men." Rather, He instructed: "Go into thy room, and closing thy
door, pray to thy Father in secret; and thy Father, who sees in
secret, will reward thee."

Jesus abhorred sin, but loved sinners, recognizing that all men are
frail and easily led astray. When the Pharisees, a group of learned
and pious Jews, tested Jesus by bringing to Him a woman who had been
caught in adultery, saying "in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone
such persons. What, therefore, dost thou say?" Jesus replied: "Let him
who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her."

Jesus' message was one of forgiveness and redemption: "Go thy way, and
from now on sin no more." He made redemption possible -- by His words
and His deeds, giving His life to expiate the sins of all men.

Jesus did not become King of the Jews, as some feared. He did not seek
to lead armies or rule nations, but His life revolutionized the
history of the world. His ethics -- of forgiveness, tolerance and
universal redemption -- advanced the concept of justice, previously
rooted in the dictum of "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth."
He taught us to love, not only our neighbors as ourselves, but "Love
your enemies, do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse
you, pray for those who calumniate you."

The world is a better place -- not just for believers, but unbelievers
as well -- because Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem that day so long
ago.

Nov 12 '05 #1
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