By Jeff Lucas
Why a baby born in Bethlehem can change your life
He came to earth without much fanfare or fuss, welcomed by a few night-shift sheep workers and travelling Eastern mystics fascinated by a 500-year-old Jewish prophecy.
And yet angels threw a birthday party for Him. That's because this child was like no other.
Two thousand years ago, He was born to ordinary parents living in extraordinary times, under a brutal military regime. His name was Jesus.
He grew up, began His ministry of teaching and miracles, and started making some surprising claims.
He said He came for the broken and weary. He invited people to live a new life, under His instruction. Jesus offered far more than a set of principles for living, but promised to always be with His apprentices. He would help them, empower them, and be alongside them every step of the way.
Every part of their lives would be affected by their decision to follow Jesus. He repeatedly talked about 'the kingdom of God'. It was His main theme. A kingdom is a place where a king or queen reigns. Jesus, the greatest king there's ever been, was inviting everyone to submit the whole of their lives to His loving authority.
They'd have a new purpose and their ambition would be to see His kingdom – His rule – widen. Their aim would be to push back the darkness of injustice and oppression, as more and more discovered the true light: Jesus.
Jesus promised much to those who followed Him. They weren't assured an easy ride, but their past would be forgiven. Their present would sparkle with significance. Their future would be assured, with Jesus for eternity, not because they were good enough, but because of the new life He offered them.
And then, having set out His manifesto on how to live and die, Jesus went to the cross.
There, He dealt with every barrier preventing us from experiencing a close-up relationship with God here and for eternity.
Broken on the cross, He died. Some thought it was all over. But it was just beginning. Three days later He came to life again.
He overcame the most shattering experience humans ever face – death itself.
Now the living Christ invites us to be His followers.
He calls us to become part of the family that is the Church. He offers us clarity and direction through the book He has inspired – the Bible.
He extends His hand to us, inviting us to share our lives with Him daily. So prayer is simply an ongoing conversation with God.
Millions have made the choice to call this child like no other – who became a man like no other –their king.
Jesus is forever, not just for Christmas. Do you want to know Him? ?
From 'Y Christmas?' published by Verité CM, UK