December 27, 2010
Okay, it’s a wrap. Retail Rescue ’10 is in its final stages; the game was in the win column before the holiday weekend. The post-holiday turnout put the icing on the cake; RR’10 got extra time on the game clock with the day-after happening on a weekend day, allowing shoppers to show up without work conflicts. The numbers were all “up;” Wall Street will bounce, after the storm passes…
The celebration of Christmas can be traced back to around 400 AD. No one disputes the impossibility of tying the birth of Jesus to a particular calendar date. The events surrounding Christmas were not timestamped…
It’s hard to consider Christmas – the birth of Jesus, at whatever calendar posting one chooses – apart from the cultural baggage of holly and bearded fat men driving sleighs, or decorated pine trees and front-door wreaths, office parties and family gift exchanges, nighttime carol sings and year-end sale events. Once all of the hype of the holiday is reboxed and put back in the attic, there’s a question that remains on the table: what if it’s really true?
A teenaged girl – already engaged to an older man in the village – explains her pregnancy with a story about an angel who appeared to her – just her – and revealed a biologically-impossible, supernaturally-initiated plan that would place a child in her womb who would be fathered by God. Wow; that’s a tall tale. But, what if it’s really true?
A bunch of shepherds who missed church most weekends are spending another cold night in the fields protecting their flocks when an apparition of angels appear – not to one of them, who had too much to drink, but to all of them, in full charge of their sobriety – and then declare a holy event, back in the village of Bethlehem. The shepherds commit the unthinkable act: they leave their charges unprotected and head for town to confirm the tip. Nice bedtime story. But, what if it’s really true?
High class nobles who don’t work, but spend their days studying literature and the heavens, blending history and astronomy, connect the dots between an ancient Hebrew scripture and an unprecedented new star in the night sky… and their response is to pack up vitals and valuables as they begin an overland trek to chase down the spot where the star seemed to point. They arrive months later, finding a young child they deem royal… and present his parents with gifts of immense trading value, as if in homage to a recognized superior. Great source material for a timeless song (“We three kings of orient are…”). But, what if it’s really true?
A self-defensive king who holds his position in a tempestuous time – bridging between the despised occupying force of Rome and the Jewish people who never resigned their national pride – hears about a rightful heir to the throne that he occupies through intrigue. He gathers as much information as he can, and then directs the slaughter of all the boys – birth to toddler – in the region, in a desperate attempt to maintain his post. A tragic footnote to history. But, what if it’s really true?
Stories containing those vignettes continue the account of the baby’s life. He grows up to be a carpenter in Nazareth, then an itinerant wanderer with a message that was both provocative and profound. He runs afoul of the religious hierarchy and falls into a conspiratorial plot making use of the powers of Rome to eliminate him. Things quickly get out of hand… and a combination of inexplicable events surrounds his death and burial. The story isn’t over at the graveyard; hundreds of reliable sources later report that he was restored to life and then returned to heaven. An epic set of biographies… but, what if they are really true?
If that’s all true, Christmas isn’t over. The reality revisited at Christmas is the most impacting truth ever exposed to mankind. If it’s true, it changes today, and every day, for everyone. What if it’s really true, for you?