We are about to celebrate the birthday of the person who founded the Christian faith. It’s almost certain that Jesus was not born on December 25. There is no historical evidence to support this date and really no biblical evidence. Based on clues from the calendar and Bible, the date of Herod’s death, the reign and decree of Augustus Caesar, and the most likely theory of the celestial event to account for the star of Bethlehem, Jesus was most likely born in the spring of 6 BC. There is no good historical evidence to support any of the theories regarding his time of birth. As a matter of fact, there is little historical evidence outside of the Bible to support much about Jesus. The Bible, the course of history and the lives of people since the birth of Jesus all support his claim to be the Messiah. He has been referred to as the Prince of Peace and set the example of how our lives should be lived. To Christians, he is the savior with the promise of eternal life for those who believe in him and his death and resurrection. In short, Christians believe Jesus was the Son of God; if true, that is very significant.
In studying the practices of this man Jesus, he had a ministry of love, healing and forgiveness. When a woman who had committed adultery was brought to him by the Pharisees, he was told that the law demanded she be stoned. The Pharisees ask what he would do. He replied, “he who is without sin cast the first stone.” No one picked up a stone and Jesus told the woman to go and leave her life of sin. This is in sharp contrast to a woman in Saudi Arabia who was recently gang raped and because she was in a car with a man who was not a relative was sentenced to receive 200 lashes and 6 months in jail.
In another recent incident, a British schoolteacher in Sudan had a Teddy Bear naming contest in her class of 7 year olds. The children wanted the Teddy Bear to be named Muhammad. For this, she was arrested and put in jail until high level government intervention had her released. For a Teddy Bear to be named Jesus in this country, no one would have even noticed, and I suspect that Jesus would have been flattered that a child was acquainted with his name and used it to name a toy she loved.
The Jesus I have read about would not have condoned suicide missions or crashing planes into the twin towers in New York. His famous Sermon on the Mount said nothing about killing the infidels, but was about love, forgiveness and how to get along with our fellow man.
I’m sure not a preacher and don’t even attend church every Sunday, but I like the teachings of the man whose birthday we are about to celebrate. I don’t adhere to those teaching as much as I should, but I think about them all the time. Those teachings make me a better person and give me hope for the future.
I’m surely glad I live in this country and can celebrate Christmas. I can sit on my porch, read what I want, and go where I please. I can even keep by trusty and rusty single shot 22 I have had since 14 years of age. It really doesn’t matter about the exact date of Jesus birth. The important thing is, in a country founded on his teachings and religious freedom, we should acknowledge his importance to mankind.