For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. Isaiah 9:6-7
What happened that day almost two thousand years ago would change the world. Today it seems to be a popular pastime to blame all the West’s ills on Christianity or to deny Christianity’s impact on the world. When that baby was born in a manger, that small event would reverberate down to us and will continue past us. That one birth could do so much is almost beyond comprehension. For some Jews it was the answer to God’s promise but for others it was not how they perceived the promise to be kept. For the latter, they missed the most important event in the history of Israel, the birth of Messiah.
Why did so many faithful Jews miss this event? They were expecting a conquering king who would free them from the yoke of Rome. They wanted a warrior king and Jesus came preaching love and the kingdom of God. How could they have made such a mistake? It is much easier to look back from today and see what God said regarding the Messiah. That He would have to die and that His complete work would come later. It is much harder when you are living through events to separate what you want to be true from what is true or to pick up the fine points in God’s promise.
First the Messiah had to open a way for us to become reconciled with God. He also had to conquer death and sin so we too could have eternal life. This two fold plan is much easier to see today but God had also given the Jews a timeline for when Messiah was to appear and the first century fits exactly with what was revealed in Daniel. Still the old saying that it is hard to remember your objective was to drain the swamp when you are up to your neck in alligators and the Jews were up to their necks in Roman rule.
Still many did recognize Jesus as the promised Messiah and they spread the news to all the world. This slow spread changed everything. Before Christianity women were no better that property but Jesus had women as His disciples and women helped spread the early church. I doubt there would have ever been a women’s movement without Christianity.
It was Christians who fought to end slavery in the West. It was Christians who came to the Americas looking for religious freedom who founded the United States of America. Western law is based on the Ten Commandments and Christian thought and ideas. It is the Christian idea that the individual has value that led to modern democracy and the one person one vote rule of government.
For most of human history the elite few have ruled the masses. In much of the non-Christian world that is still the case. Could the USA have happened without Christianity, doubtful and highly improbable? Jesus changed minds. People began to think of each other differently and they thought of themselves differently. This slow change in the way we thought led to great changes in our societies. All because a baby was born in a manger in Bethlehem over two thousand years ago.
Merry Christmas and have a blessed day,