Sunday, December 25, 2011
Happy Birthday, Master: Some thoughts on Jesus.
C. S. Lewis put it bluntly. The famous athiest cum author and theologian said with fearless resolve that Christ was "either the Son of God or a fried egg." He saw no room for compromise. Either he was who he said he was, or he was a delusional nut-job. You could not find anything useful from the ramblings of a nut job, so a less than Son of God Jesus had no usefulness to those who cherish intellectual integrity. Else they be in delusion as well.
It is all or nothing. No smokey gray prophet, well intended but misunderstood, not really miraculous but a great teacher or some other kind of new age mumbo-jumbo. Son of God, or nut job.
If he was a nut job, it would take a lot of mental calisthenics to arrive at that. All of his followers had to be duped... priests, physicians, soldiers, fishermen, tax collectors, fallen women, even a thief on the cross. Then they had to steal his body, to perpetuate the scam, keep the secret and grow their numbers against all odds... all so everyone could be thrown to the lions, to the amusement of the Roman authorities... Every one of his disciples was persecuted, killed or imprisoned. If it was a lie, it was one which appealed to those with a death wish.
Then they had to scramble to live, to find refuge, to perpetuate the incredible fabrication... for what? To make sure their children suffered the same fate? Why? For pride? Stubbornness? A big joke on mankind? So Christ was a fried egg and his followers mere delusional, perhaps suicidal dreamers. That would take a lot of faith, given what happened after that.
Because this amazing God-man Jesus, whichever he was, who many would reject on grounds of logic and science, had more impact on our world than any other single man. So much so, we take it for granted, never even think about it.
Christians believe he was the Son of God, in fact, a member of a multi-faceted Deity, with three distinct manifestations. He was the human part, the One we could see, hear and touch, and relate to. But he was also there in the beginning: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The Apostle John gave us the idea that Christ was there.. in THE BEGINNING.
Jesus was not only the Son of God, he was THE WORD, the breath of God, the spoken words, the translated thoughts, all the living, earthly evidence of the Creator; The Creator himself. We speak of the Bible as "the Word" but it is just an inspired paper document recording the message of God. And that message was all about Christ.
So no wonder our calendar reflects his world-changing life. For much of the Western world, our years, soon to be 2012, count back to his birth here on earth. Not bad for a fried egg.
The Western world then proceeded to become the most prosperous, inventive, powerful culture in human history. Today, even in decadance and near collapse, it is still more blessed than any other culture in the world. And most of its decline is due to its unfortunate evolution away from its spiritual roots.
As I have written, compare the Christian icon of Santa Claus, to all other figures in childrendom. Santa is the most loving, active force for their benefit, a symbol of God's Grace and goodness. The culture of Christ, His fruits so to speak, are always grace and love and charity. The Western world leads the rest in charity around the world, at every natural disaster, plague or human tragedy. Thanks to a fried egg, some would say.
Coca Cola made a soda pop bottle back in 1923, a slight modification of their 1915 model, and it was patented on December 25, 1923. Today we call it the "Christmas Coke." It is a popular collectors item. I can think of no other icon in our culture so... quintessential. A major company born in the United States, their product a delightful beverage, that appealed to the American sense of wholesomeness and idealism, choosing, not coincidentally, to put the birthdate of Christ on every bottle. Almost like saying, at every sip, "Merry Christmas." [Yes, I know, the original recipe for Coca Cola had a little cocaine in it, an understandable inclusion at the time]
Funny, a hundred years later, this company is the most recognized symbol in the world... next to THE CROSS. Coca Cola should remember that, that is what it built its umage on, as it stands on the edge of a slippery slope.
After Rome fell to the pagan hordes, Christianity soon filled the void of leadership and vision for the world. As long as Italy and Spain and France and England kept their Christian orientation, they were great powers. As their faith wavered, so did their influence on the world. Germany failed to ever be a world power because she never truly took up the cross.
It has never been a foolish thing, to just associate oneself with this alleged Son of God... or his followers. The children of Israel, now represented by the Jews, have partnered with the Western powers for centuries. It was Christiandom that finally gave them a place on the map.
The next time you see an old coke bottle, try to think of any German or Saudi Arabian beverage you like to drink. The next time you look at a calendar, try to imagine history without Jesus. Think of who else our calendar should have been centered around. You know, the savior we should have been celebrating every year.
No, he was no "nutjob," God forgive me if that mere suggestion offends Your Perfect Highness.
Else most of Western history has been a mistake, out of sinc, built on lies, a coincidence where chaos gave birth to order. (NOT!) Coca Cola was not shy about embossing his glorious day on every bottle for around twenty five years. Today, let's try to give this day the honor it deserves. The day we recognize the birth of the Son of God.
Happy Birthday Master