“Just a hurried line…to tell a story which puts the contrast between our feast of the Nativity and all this ghastly ‘Xmas’ racket at its lowest. My brother heard a woman on a bus say, as the bus passed a church with a Crib outside it, ‘Oh Lor’! They bring religion into everything. Look—they’re dragging it even into Christmas now!’” C. S. Lewis, Letters to an American Lady
“The character of Jesus has not only been the highest pattern of virtue, but the strongest incentive to its practice, and has exerted so deep an influence, that it may be truly said, that the simple record of three short years of active life has done more to generate and to soften mankind, than all the disquisitions of philosophers and than all the exhortations of moralists.” W. E. H. Lecky, English Skeptic, History of European Morals
We aren’t sure who penned the following summary of our LORD’s birth, life, death, and resurrection, but an excellent summary it is.
“He [Jesus] was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village, where he worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty. Then for three years he was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a home. He didn’t go to college. He never visited a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but himself.
“He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against him His friends ran away. One of them denied him. He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
“While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his garments, the only property he had on earth. When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Nineteen centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race.
“All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that one solitary life.”
“When Jesus Christ took upon Himself the form of man,” notes D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcomb, “He imbued mankind with dignity and inherent value that had never been dreamed of before. Whatever Jesus touched or whatever He did transformed that aspect of human life. Many People will read about the innumerable small incidents in the life of Christ while never dreaming that those casually mentioned ‘little’ things were to transform the history of mankind.”
The following are some of the highlights that emerged from this transformed history and listed in Kennedy/Newcomb’s great work What if Jesus Had Never Been Born?:
- Hospitals, which essentially began during the Middle Ages.
- Universities, which also began during the Middle Ages. In addition, most of the world’s greatest universities were started by Christians for Christian purposes.
- Literacy and education for the masses.
- Capitalism and free-enterprise.
- Representative government, particularly as it has been seen in the American experiment.
- The separation of political powers.
- Civil liberties.
- The abolition of slavery, both in antiquity and in more modern times.
- Modern science.
- The discovery of the New World by Columbus.
- The elevation of women.
- Benevolence and charity; the good Samaritan ethic.
- Higher standards of justice.
- The elevation of the common man.
- The condemnation of adultery, homosexuality, and other sexual perversions. This has helped to preserve the human race, and it has spared many from heartache.
- High regard for human life.
- The civilizing of many barbarian and primitive cultures.
- The codifying and setting to writing of many of the world’s languages.
- Greater development of art and music. The inspiration of the greatest words of art.
- The countless changed lives transformed from liabilities into assets to society because of the gospel.
- The eternal salvation of countless souls!
Editor’s Comment: I am one of those countless souls saved by “grace through faith” in our Lord Jesus Christ. It is my prayer that all those reading this blog are secure in the faith and enjoying the blessings of eternal life (John 3:16). Merry Christmas !