Merry Christmas, everyone. Many will (or have already) write today on their blogs, wishing you that sentiment. I, too, join with them.
Today, which may not actually be the day of Jesus’ birth, nor may it actually have happened 2006 years ago, is nonetheless the day which we stop and celebrate a moment when God arrived on Earth in the form of one of us.
It is a day, chosen or actual, that marks the most significant days in all of human history. Even if they have decided (“they” being a bunch of historians) to redesignate the time annotation since then something other than “AD,” there will be references to the change in the major calendar for mankind to the birth of the Chirst child in many archived books, stories, reports and novels that, unless each offending part is tracked down by zealots, intent on erasing the event from the memory of mankind (which, would be ironic indeed, for the first Zealots were there with Jesus, Jewish and attempting to rid Israel of the Roman rulers.
Who else has so changed mankind, not only by recalibrating the passage of time, but the rules of living?
I had a Bible for as many years as I can remember, but I came to a new understanding of that ancient document 8 years and three months ago, as a man stood at the front of a church and spoke of the story of Jonah. I left a changed man.
The message of the second part of the Bible made me rethink my world views. In some ways, it has reaffirmed what I had been taught, but had no understanding of the original source. Other parts of my life view have transformed dramatically. I used to by into the “wisdom” of modern day psychology, but I have done a little reading and I find men such as Moses, David and Solomon (to name but a few), even before Jesus and Paul, understood how to have relationships with family, friends, co-workers, governments and other nations and laid out what works for how to govern one’s life. Much of “modern” understanding seems to draw from those stories, told not as professional reports to “peers,” but penned when there was no such title or field of study.
I often wonder, as people glibly toss around “fundamentalist” and, particularly “Fundamentalist” (almost all the time attached to the unsaid “Christian”) and have forgotten that that term is descriptive of any one who follows the foundational doctrine. Be it sports, religion, or writing, along with many other fields of endeavor. Yes, there are “Christian Fundamentalists.” I used to believe they had taken off on a tangent from the Bible, yet I know see there are those Christians who have gone off one a path that is “outside of the box,” but I would not refer to them as “fundamentalists,” for they have left the reservation. The Bible is a complex work, and consistent in it’s message, but, as with other lengthy works, you must take the time to read the entire work, most likely several times, to see that the “Fundamentalists” should have but one mission: To love everyone as themselves. Who among us does not want to be loved? If you are loved, then, subconsciously or not, those loving you are carrying out the mission.
I’m no scholar of the Bible, but I have read most of it. I’m glad I did. I encourage you to as well. It’s a book in one area of our lives that is easily, and in many cases, freely available to anyone, and it is there to be used to “fact check” the person at the front of the church, on the street corner, or here on the web, to make sure the message is not diluted, or misquoted. Find that sort of transparency in other arenas…I don’t recall professionals who actually urge you to study their documentation as throughly as they do, in order to be able to challenge them.
I’ll leave you with this, for those who may not yet have been transformed by a close encounter with a Living God, that the one letter “book review” I can come to provide for the Bible is “Love.” Nothing more, nothing less. If we all had that in us and shared it, just imagine how civilization would be reformed…
I once made an attempt to make sense out of how an ancient writing is useful to our society and I fell back to an analogy of something I understand. That story is here.
Merry Christmas to all and may there be peace on Earth in our time.