Love, Peace, and Joy is a feeling of presence and pleasure caused by someone or something exceptionally glorious, great and good. Christmas is exceptionally glorious, great and good for it is about the miracle birth of a unique personality, a precious person, a priceless gift, a glorious message and the presence of God coming down to earth to be born in a manger.
Historically, Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. Theologically, Christmas is the celebration of the incarnation of God in Jesus, the self-revelation of God to the world in human form for the reconciliation of world. Traditionally Christmas a time of wonder and joy, of generosity and peace that brings family and friends together in celebration. However, the Paradox is that many are so preoccupied with the celebration that they forget the celebrant. But the Celebrant is more vital than the celebration because the Celebrant is the cause of the celebration.
What do historians really know about the “Jesus Story?” What does history tell us about Jesus of Nazareth?
The story begins in the little town of Bethlehem in Israel over 2,000 years ago; a baby was born whose life was destined to affect countless millions. Even for skeptics, the historical influence of Jesus of Nazareth is the result of arguably the most influential life ever lived. Jesus was raised in humble Jewish surroundings in Roman-controlled Judea and Galilee, he never travelled more than 300 miles from his birthplace, he had a small group of simple followers, and he was killed for violating the religious laws of his own people. He never received political power, he never raised an army, and he never conquered territory. By historical standards, Jesus didn’t cut it as an influential figure in political, economic, or military power.
Jesus Christ founded His Empire on love, and at this hour millions of men would die for Him.” Throughout history, the influence Jesus had on the lives of people has never been surpassed. No other great leader has inspired so many positive changes in the lives of his followers. Jesus is the central figure of all history and was the greatest missionary of all time.
Who is Jesus?
The historical influence of Jesus continues to expand throughout the world. He lived a traditional Jewish life in Nazareth, working with his father as a tradesman for thirty years. During this period, all of Israel was under Roman control. When Jesus was about 30-years-old, he started his public ministry around the Sea of Galilee. He was known for powerful teaching and a series of recorded miracles. Over the next three-plus years, his reputation spread throughout the region, although he tried to keep a low profile. The Roman rulers of the Jewish provinces and the religious leaders of the Jewish people kept an eye on him. For some reason, Jesus became more and more of a perceived threat to the “organized religion” of the day. As a result, the Jewish leaders asked the Roman leaders – who were in control at the time – to execute him. There were official trials, but the Romans determined that Jesus was innocent of any crime against Rome. The religious leaders persisted with political arguments and ultimately persuaded Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of the area, to approve the execution.
Jesus was mocked, tortured, and hung on a wooden cross just outside Jerusalem. His simple followers scattered. Three hours later, he was dead. It would seem that the historical account of Jesus – and any long-lasting historical influence – should end right there… with his death. But, it didn’t. We know that something happened – something caused his scattered followers to reconnect – reengage — spread the word about Jesus again. Within a couple of months, there were thousands in and around Jerusalem that became his disciples. Within a couple centuries, there were hundreds of thousands in the Mediterranean region that called themselves “Christians” – or followers of Jesus Christ. In 325 AD, Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Emperor Constantine. Within 500 years, Greek temples to pagan gods were being converted to Christian churches all over the Roman world. What could have happened to cause such a powerful movement in the name of one simple man?
Christmas is a time for hope, peace, and reconciliation. It has something to do with the manifestation of the greatest love and the greatest gift the world ever has seen. God is giving his only Son to the world. Christmas becomes more meaningful when we give than when we expect to receive it. Remember, it is the Lord’s birthday we are celebrating. The true spirit of Christmas is Christ-spirit must take its birth within our hearts. That is the real Christmas when we accept Christ as our personal savior and Lord and dedication to serving those in need, to giving hope to those in despair, and to spreading Love, peace, joy, and message of hope in the world. It’s a love that never stops shining. Let Jesus Christ be the center of your Christmas celebration.