In the children's section of any bookstore, books on the birth of Jesus stand next to Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk. The same parents who describe Santa Claus so convincingly also tell their children of Another who knows if they've been "naughty or nice." No wonder many children cast aside the Father and the Son at about the time they give up their belief in
the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny.
But the Gospel Story is not myth or fairy tale. It is history--as solidly believable as Julius Caesar and Caesar Augustus. Look at any calendar. The prefixes Sept-, Oct-, Nov-, and Dec- should designate months 7, 8, 9, and 10, not 9, 10, 11, and 12. Why are they off by two digits? Because in their egotism two powerful men, namely Julius Caesar and Caesar Augustus, inserted months to honor themselves, pushing the succeeding months back in the year. The calendar's misnamed months testify to the two rulers' historicity.
The same is true with regard to the year on the calendar. Each passing year recalls the blessed moment when "The Word became flesh and pitched a tent among us" (John 1:14). And every stock market report and checkbook entry, every video camera's electronic brain and every letter's postmark, whisper in
unison, "He actually lived, truly and literally, in real space and time!"
John cannot be misunderstood: "We heard Him, we saw Him with our eyes, we looked at Him, and our hands touched Him" (1 John 1:1). Paul says Christ was raised and appeared to eyewitnesses, many of whom were still alive to affirm it 25 years later (1 Cor. 15:5-8).
For all of us who follow Him, the story can end, "and they lived happily ever after," because of this very reason: it does not begin with "Once upon a time," but "Once, for all time."
Copyright ?2005 Steve Singleton, All rights reserved.
Steve Singleton has written and edited several books and numerous articles on subjects of interest to Bible students. He has taught Greek, Bible, and religious studies courses Bible college, university, and adult education programs. He has taught seminars and workshops in 11 states and the Caribbean.
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