Nativity scenes featuring Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus lying in a manger, surrounded by shepherds and wise men, are a familiar sight this time of year. They are part of the Christmas tradition and serve as a reminder that Jesus is the reason for the season.
One that is particularly beautiful went up on Thanksgiving weekend. It is on a billboard outside the New Jersey entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel. It is a silhouette of three wise men riding camels toward the manger under an enormous shining star. However, the jarring words on this billboard are anything but traditional: “You KNOW it’s a Myth. This season celebrate REASON.” At the bottom of the billboard are the words “American Atheists – Reasonable since 1963.”
The implication of this message is that anyone who believes in God and his son, Jesus, is without reason. However, the year 1963 is a tacit acknowledgment that the birth of Jesus Christ was one of the most important events in human history. More specifically, the organization was founded in 1963 A.D., or Anno Domini, which is medieval Latin translated as “In the year of (the/Our) Lord.”
The abbreviations A.D. and B.C. (Before Christ) are designations used to label years in the Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar is the calendar system with the most widespread use in the world today. For decades, it has been the unofficial global standard, recognized by international institutions such as the United Nations and the Universal Postal Union. It is also a basis of scholarly dating.
Was the selection of the time of Christ as the dividing line between the ancient and modern worlds simply an accident? We know more about the life of Christ than any other figure in the ancient world, not just from the 27 separate documents that make up the Bible’s New Testament, but from many other respected contemporary sources.
After viewing these sources as a whole, we can consider only one of two possibilities: Jesus was a lunatic, or He was God incarnate. The Hebrew Scriptures pointed the way to the promised Messiah and went into great detail about His birth, life and death through prophecy. These fulfilled prophecies were made many years before Jesus’ birth, and the Dead Sea Scrolls confirm that they remained unchanged.
The Bible contains more than 1,000 prophesies, 322 on Jesus, alone. None of these prophecies were ever proved 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. 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. Yes, when the Bible was written there were many wise, REASONABLE men who scoffed at the revealed truth in God’s holy word. There is a wonderful tract available from Living Waters Publications that compares some of the revealed truth that contradicted the beliefs of the wise men of that time. Here are just a few of them:
|Science Then||The Bible and Science Now|
|The earth was flat||The earth is a sphere (Isaiah 40:22)|
|Winds blew straight||Winds blow in cyclones (Ecclesiastes 1:6)|
|Only 1,100 stars||Incalculable number of stars (Jeremiah 33:22)|
|Oceans fed only by rivers and rain||Oceans contain springs (Job 38:16)|
|Air was weightless||Air has weight (Job 28:25)|
Yes, Jesus is the reason for the season, and you are the reason that “although He existed in the form of God,” He “emptied himself” (Philippians 2:6-7) and came to earth and began life as a tiny babe in a lowly manger. He lived a sinless life to become the perfect sacrifice for your sins so that you can spend eternity with Him. It’s your gift – “the gift of God: not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Christmas is a perfect time for all REASONABLE people to explore the evidence that Jesus is Lord and the Bible is God’s holy word. The arguments of atheists are easily debunked. They strain at gnats in an effort to bolster their claims, and point to a few unimportant copyist 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.
Experience the true joy of Christmas, the kind that only comes through following Jesus.