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Nothing disturbs an atheist like a crèche, or manger scene as it is more commonly called, featuring statues of Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus surrounded by shepherds, wise men and assorted farm animals.

What is so threatening about a tiny babe sleeping in a lowly manger? If Jesus had remained a babe, there would be no objection. However, there would be no crèche without the cross. Ah, there is the rub.

Most people are completely comfortable with the tiny babe in the manger. Rickey Bobby, Will Ferrell’s character in the NASCAR spoof “Talladega Nights,” always prayed to the “Baby Jesus.” He explained to his wife, “When you pray, you can pray to grown up Jesus, or teenage Jesus or bearded Jesus or whoever you want.”

To Bobby, Jesus was like Elvis Presley, who was worshiped by many of his fans. When they hear Elvis’ music and worship their king, many picture the old Elvis, while the vast majority prefers the young Elvis. Yes, Farrell’s character, was all too real. Like many Christians, he preferred the nonthreatening Christmas Jesus best.

There is no evidence that early church celebrated Jesus’ birth. While the circumstances surrounding this event are important because the birth fulfilled many prophesies, the exact month and day of Jesus’ arrival are unknown. Some believe Jesus was born in the spring, while others say it was early January.

The atheists are right about one thing: Christians chose Dec. 25 to commemorate Christ’s birth somewhere around 330 A.D. to replace a pagan holiday that marked the winter solstice. Not a bad idea. After all, Romans 12:21 says, “Don’t be overcome by evil. but overcome evil with good.” Jesus was the light of the world, and we Christians use this day, to celebrate that light on the darkest day of the year.

Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to discover the real Jesus for yourself. The Christ, who, although He existed in the form of God, emptied himself, to be born through a virgin, live a sinless life and willingly go to the cross as a spotless lamb to pay the price for our sins so we might live forever.

Then, Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to his disciples and other followers on several different occasions over a 40-day period before he ascended to heaven. On one such occasion, He appeared to more than 500 people.

This is a perfect time to explore the Bible for yourself. The arguments of the skeptics are easily debunked. To bolster their claims, they strain at gnats and point to a few unimportant copyists errors that have occurred through the ages that do not in any way affect the historical facts, central truths or the Christian faith and practice.

There is more evidence to support the Bible than any other ancient work. The Bible contains many facts that, at the time they were revealed, were considered ridiculous but now have been verified by archeology and science.

The greatest evidence that the Bible is God’s holy word and that Jesus was God incarnate is fulfilled prophesy. The Bible contains more than 1,000 prophesies, 322 on Jesus, alone. None of these prophecies were ever proven false, and those yet to be fulfilled relate to the end times and the second coming of Christ.

The odds against all of these prophecies being fulfilled are staggering. In fact, scientists consider that anything beyond one chance in 10 to the 50th power is beyond reason or essentially impossible.

When you study the Bible and consider the probability of just the prophecies about Jesus being fulfilled, you will discover for yourself that there is little room for doubt.

Jesus clearly is the most controversial figure in history. Not because the evidence of His life, death and resurrection is lacking, but because of His message: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.” – John 14:6

However, the greatest evidence that Jesus is real is in the lives that have been changed as a result of a relationship with the living Christ.

Yes, when Christians celebrate Christmas they decorate their homes, put up evergreens to compliment the season and exchange gifts. However, the greatest gift of all was given to us some 2,000 years ago by God’s only Son. It is the gift of eternal life. When you claim it, then, and only then, will you know the true peace of Christmas.

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