He is with us

  • December 14, 2007

{mosimage}One of the most important things to remember about Christmas is that Christ’s birth is a real historical event. It happened, some time more than 2,000 years ago, that a child was born to Mary and Joseph in poverty and the world came to know Him as Jesus of Nazareth, Christ the Lord, Saviour, Messiah, Son of God.

Jesus is not a mythical figure, a symbol for Peace or Love or Justice. His story is not a legend written by poets past to teach a morality tale. In fact, the Evangelists all place the birth of Christ in human history. Matthew and Luke take great pains to give the birth historical context; Matthew with his genealogy ties Jesus to the people of David, Luke with his description of the census ordered by the Roman Emperor Augustus gives us an approximate year for His birth.

There has been a mountain of scholarship over the centuries on what aspects of Christ’s birth — and life — can be supported by the historical record and what can’t. What no credible scholar does is deny that Jesus existed or that He was recognized by the very early church as Son of God.

This undeniable fact underlines the reality of the holiday of Christmas. We can give it all the glitz our consumer society can manufacture, we can surround it with feel-good customs and happy music, we can even hide it behind the ubiquitous “Season’s Greetings” blandishments. But the reality continues to find a way to poke through the noise.

The reality of the coming of Jesus the Christ can be found in the silence of Christmas Eve, in the quiet dignity and joy of Midnight Mass, in the acknowledgment that God so loved the world He sent His only son on a starry night some 2,000 years ago to become one of us.

Robert Latimer

There has been much righteous indignation bruited abroad this country in the last week or so over the fact that Robert Latimer was denied parole and forced to go back to his prison cell for a couple more years. Major daily newspapers, online polls, even the Canadian Civil Liberties Association have all decried the decision by the parole board in Manitoba as oppressive and harsh.

Recall that seven years ago Latimer was convicted of second degree murder for killing his 12-year-old daughter who suffered from a severe disability. He said he did it out of love for her and a desire to end her suffering.

While all Latimer’s friends in the public square seemed to take his word at face value, the parole board members were rather more taken by the fact that he showed absolutely no remorse for killing his daughter and no sense there was anything wrong in what he had done.

Thank goodness they made the right call.

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