On Christmas Eve

December 24, 2005 at 9:54 AM (Uncategorized) ()

Warning: The following is a post by a religious skeptic.
comments will be moderated and if necessary deleted.

Reflections on Jesus of Nazareth:

This time of year, there’s a very hopeful story that gets told in many many places.
A story of a miracle child, born in a stable, a child who would change the world and be known (among his other names) as not the God of War, but the Prince of Peace.

As he grew up, he asssociated with prostitutes and tax collectors.
He threw the moneychangers out of the Temple, which I read as strong opposition to mixing the interests of banking or business with the interests of faith.

He opposed the Pharisees, the strictest, and harshest judges of the day concerning what was the “correct” way to worship God, and they in turn, saw him as a true threat to their position and power.

He was quite vocal in his concern for the poor.

His words in the Bible do not support the idea that God just sets us up here and then we are on our own to either prosper or fall by our own strenghts and limits.

I would like to deal just in facts, but there is one point that keeps me from completely discarding the idea that this man could have been the Son of God.

When the leader of their faith was crucified, it was public knowledge that the Romans and the leaders of the religious communites wouldn’t lose any sleep at all if *all* of his disciples were rounded up and spent *their* last hours hanging from a cross.

The story goes that they fled the city the day after the crucifixion.

Human nature would, I think tend to support the idea that these guys fled the city, headed for the hills and their sect would have become just one more obscure offshoot of the mainstream Judaism of the day.

I know that the faith grew later, because of the inclusion of the Gentiles and the Roman choice under Constantine to make it essentially the state religion of the Empire.

But *something* brought those disciples back and fired them up to teach again. Something that predated Saul of Tarsus miracle on the Damascus Road [for the fact based, a possible epileptic seziure?] followed by his vision of Jesus

That’s a fact. And staying public, under the Roman threat violates every sensible survival instinct I can think of. *What* that something was is a matter of individual faith.

And it is that something that brings me back to the miracle baby in the manger.

If it is true…if a Nazarene carpenter is The Son of God…

We need Him right now.

“Oh, come O come Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear…”

The world is at war, doing rotten things in the name of God.

The poor are poorer every day.

Those who have are *openly* careless of those who have less.

But there has been a kind of silence from Heaven before during other difficult times.

The Holocaust.

The Plague

The many wars that have preceeded the present conflict in Iraq.

Deity may not answer in the way we wish.

But the hopeful story of the season is that God made a miracle before, with a child and a stable.

And the faith of many is that that Child is the answer to all of the difficult questions.

If that is your faith then, Merry Christmas to you.

If it is not, then, ponder the idea that hope is a gift we get and give…and that miracles have been known to occur right here, on earth in front of our eyes.

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