Christmas 2016: A Clear and Present Hope

nativity-sceneRecently, the outgoing First Lady, Michelle Obama, told Interviewer Oprah Winfrey,

Now we’re feeling like what not having hope feels like.

I beg to differ.

Our Hope is ETERNAL.

Luke 2:  1-7 (ASV):

 1 Now it came to pass in those days, there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be enrolled.

2 This was the first enrolment made when Quirinius was governor of Syria.

3 And all went to enrol themselves, every one to his own city.

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David;

5 to enrol himself with Mary, who was betrothed to him, being great with child.

6 And it came to pass, while they were there, the days were fulfilled that she should be delivered.

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son; and she wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

From the Innkeeper’s Point of View…

…I remember it like it was yesterday.  Caesar Augustus had come up with the bright idea that a census should be taken of the whole Roman Empire, in order to more effectively tax the stew out of all of us.

It especially hurt small businessmen like me.  You see, I’m nothing but a lowly innkeeper, barely keeping my head above water, working 16 hour days.  Oy!  I could continue to gripe, but who would listen?

Anyway, like I said, Caesar decreed that everyone should get themselves registered for the Census.  In terms of business, that actually turned out to be a good thing.

I was about to lock up for the night, when a young man and  woman came to the door.  He was a strong, rugged-looking young man.  I think he was a carpenter.  She was a beautiful, pregnant little thing.  Bless her heart, she looked like she would deliver at any moment.  Their names were Joseph and Mary.

My inn was packed, for once, and I had no rooms available.  But, some part of my heart told me that I just couldn’t send them away, so I offered them my stable, which would at least offer some protection from the elements.

What happened that night was wondrous.  Men are still talking about it to this day.  A precious little baby boy was born that night and the most miraculous things happened.  People said that animals actually spoke!  And, the local shepherds said that angels came to them and told them about this baby.  They sang His praises and told the shepherds that they needed to come to my stable to see and worship that little baby.

Three wise men, sent by Herod, showed up later, bearing gifts for that special infant.  They were overcome by that little one and decided that they would not report back to Herod, but, instead, would return to their homes.

It was quite a remarkable time.  As the years went by, I heard stories about that child.  They named Him Jesus.  He grew in knowledge and stature.  At 12, his parents lost Him.  They found Him in the synagogue, teaching the old men that should have been teaching Him!  Can you imagine?

He grew up working beside His father in his carpentry business and when He was 30, I heard that He was baptized by that wild man, John The Baptist.  According to witnesses, the heavens parted, and they heard the voice of God saying:

This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.

For three years, He traveled with a group of twelve disciples, performing miracles, preaching and teaching about God’s love and His plan for mankind.

And, now I’ve heard that just yesterday, they nailed Him to a cross, executing Him as they would a common criminal.

So sad.  But, you know, there is a still, small voice inside of me that’s telling me that His story is not over, yet.

I originally wrote the preceding story 6 years ago in honor of this special day.

In 1912, C.P.J. Mooney worked as  the editor for the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, TN.  He wrote an editorial that has become a yearly tradition, not only in Memphis, but around the world.  Here it is, as my Christmas Gift to you, my much appreciated readers.

Jesus, The Perfect Man

There is no other character in history like that of Jesus.

As a preacher, as a doer of things, and as a philosopher, no man ever had the sweep and the vision of Jesus.

A human analysis of the human actions of Jesus brings to view a rule of life that is amazing in its perfect detail.

The system of ethics Jesus taught during His earthly sojourn 2,000 years ago was true then, has been true in every century since and will be true forever.

Plato was a great thinker and learned in his age, but his teachings did not stand the test of time. In big things and in little things time and human experience have shown that he erred.

Marcus Aurelius touched the reflective mind of the world, but he was as cold and austere as brown marble. …

Thomas a Kempis’ ”Imitation of Christ” is a thing of rare beauty and sympathy, but it is, as its name indicates, only an imitation.

Sir Thomas More’s ”Utopia” is yet a dream that cannot be realized.

Lord Bacon writing on chemistry and medicine under the glasses of the man working in a 20th century laboratory is puerile.

The world’s most learned doctors until 150 years ago gave dragon’s blood and ground tails of lizards and shells of eggs for certain ailments. The great surgeons a hundred years ago bled a man if he were wounded.

Napoleon had the world at his feet for four years, and when he died the world was going on its way as if he had never lived.

JESUS TAUGHT little as to property because He knew there were things of more importance than property. He measured property and life, the body and soul, at their exact relative value. He taught much more as to character, because character is of more importance than dollars.

Other men taught us to develop systems of government. Jesus taught so as to perfect the minds of men. Jesus looked to the soul, while other men dwelled on material things.

After the experience of 2,000 years no man can find a flaw in the governmental system outlined by Jesus.

Czar and kaiser, president and Socialist, give to its complete merit their admiration.

No man today, no matter whether he follows the doctrine of Mill, Marx or George as to property, can find a false principle in Jesus’ theory of property.

In the duty of a man to his fellow no sociologist has ever approximated the perfection of the doctrine laid down by Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount.

Not all the investigations of chemists, not all the discoveries of explorers, not all the experiences of rulers, not all the historical facts that go to make up the sum of human knowledge on this day in 1912 are in contradiction to one word uttered or one principle laid down by Jesus.

The human experiences of 2,000 years show that Jesus never made a mistake. Jesus never uttered a doctrine that was true at that time and then became obsolete.

Jesus spoke the truth, and the truth is eternal.

History has no record of any other man leading a perfect life or doing everything in logical order. Jesus is the only person whose every action and whose every utterance strike a true note in the heart and mind of every man born of woman. He never said a foolish thing, never did a foolish act and never dissembled.

No poet, no dreamer, no philosopher loved humanity with all the love that Jesus bore toward all men.

WHO, THEN, was Jesus?

He could not have been merely a man, for there never was a man who had two consecutive thoughts absolute in truthful perfection.

Jesus must have been what Christendom proclaims Him to be — a divine being — or He could not have been what He was. No mind but an infinite mind could have left behind those things which Jesus gave the world as a heritage.

Today, we celebrate the birth of Our Savior Jesus Christ.

As you spend today with your family and friends, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our nation and those who are away from home, protecting you and me.

God bless us, everyone.

Until He Comes,

KJ

 

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