Happy Holidays! by John Knapp II
No, this isn’t a secular greeting.
But it does concern this season when many who love the Bible stop and think about what matters most.
I share my thoughts here, not as a natural-born son of Abraham, but as one who’s been gratefully adopted into Abraham’s family, and one who takes joy in celebrating with others the traditional birthday of Jesus the Messiah.
So I offer you seven significant old “words” about His birth, and one significant new word from this century.
First, the new word.
In his last published book, the 20th century’s most notorious atheist (who died April 8, 2010) announced, and gave extended reasons for, his very dramatic change of heart about belief in God. And his new-found respect for Jesus the Messiah. In concluding remarks, Andrew Flew emphasizes: “…no other religion enjoys anything like the combination of a charismatic figure like Jesus and a first-class intellectual like St. Paul.”
—Antony Flew, There Is A God (HarperCollins, 2007, p. 157.
In his Appendix B, Flew has Bishop N. T. Wright go
further and outline a strong case for the resurrection of
What happened? ask his colleagues. Partly his continuing encounter with modern science in recent years. And how science, especially the theory of Intelligent Design, now informs science and philosophy. For more than half a century Flew (in the spirit of Plato’s Socrates) had simply been “following the argument no matter where it leads” (p. 75). And belief in God and a profound respect for the Jesus of the Bible is what he finally came to.
Now let’s turn back the clock 2000 years to those “seven old words” that I promised. They come from special observers of, or participants in, events surrounding the miraculous birth of this Jesus:
One was his Jewish mother, another his legal (and I have a special interest in legal arrangements!) Jewish father, and still another was a relative, possibly an aunt.
And one was a long-time childless Jewish priest.
Others were poor, brave Jewish herdsmen.
Add to that a couple of quiet, patient Jewish religious fanatics—both probably very senior citizens.
And add in some unexpected extraterrestials with surprising information.
Seven pieces of extrordinary information about Jesus’ birth were recorded in the New Testament (B’rit Hadashah). Please take a Bible and check them out in the (slightly mixed) order I’ve given them.
This is my holiday card to you.
Luke 1:8-17; 39-45
Luke 1:57-80 (esp. v. 76)
If you belong to my religious sub-culture (made largely of believers legally adopted into Abraham’s line—see Galatians 3:26-29), sixof these bring happy, comforting news of great joy, hope, and peace, sentiments that you will probably hear over and over this season.
Yes , just six. Now really look them up! Take a moment in the middle of times of good food, family get-togethers, and gift-giving.
Consider all seven as you contemplate the joy, hope, peace, and strange division and pain that was foretold. Accepting Jesus as your Messiah, Savior, and Lord is not an inconsequential detail—for you, or the lives of those around you.
It really matters! It has for me.
Let me add a note. I, and Seed of Abraham Ministry, would be delighted to receive a seasonal note from those of you from the more than 100 countries who follow our website. You can easily do this two ways:
(1) Send a note to the Contact Us which is part of this website.
(2) Send me a note at my email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For me, now sitting “far away” in an old cottage in the mountains of Pennsylvania (USA), I wonder what you think and why. Nice encouraging notes are fine, especially now, but as an old college prof, don’t be afraid to say what you think is wrong! I’m used to that. If something seems missing or in an error, just say so!
Thank you for reading—especially this far!
Author: John Knapp II