By Alan Bailey
The line between truth and fantasy is being blurred in many modern minds. Our technology has brought us loads of both, and the difference between them is getting harder to see. The world of game-playing on screen and the world of social media aren't all that far apart. Add the deliberate deceit that is practised to take advantage of others and you have a labyrinth of notions that take a bit of analysing.
One result is that we read of Christmas "legends" where a mother and child are mixed with Santa Claus and Rudolph. The whole celebration is then based on tales and imagination meant to be pleasing to the minds and hearts of our children.
Without wanting to spoil the fun children have, we need to do some separating of fact from fiction. How much is actual history? Is there a great event being remembered or was there no great event?
If the coming of God to earth as man actually happened, it is of huge significance to us all.
Truth we can trust
The record of the Christmas events in Matthew and Luke bear all the marks of authenticity.
The actual dates are implicit, the rulers of the time are named, and the state of affairs under the rule of Rome and of Herod is clearly described.
That Jesus was born in Bethlehem just over 2000 years ago is beyond dispute.
Obviously, to deny His birth is to deny all that is written about Him. The life He lived, the death He died and the resurrection that followed would all have to be explained away. No-one has succeeded in doing that in all the years since. Also, the many forecasts about Him in Old Testament books must be taken into account. How come authors who wrote centuries beforehand gave details of the birth of the Messiah? The tribe of Judah is named, the family of David, also; the town of Bethlehem is named, even the death of the infants at that time is foretold. So much was said that was fulfilled exactly in the life of this one man.
The Christian church which was born after the death of Christ grew out of actual contact with the Messiah, the Saviour of the world. It was not the result of traditional stories being handed down but the result of the proclamation of the Gospel in the face of fierce opposition and persecution.
We are talking about truth here. Significant to us all. The Saviour we need has come. He died in our place. We welcome Him into our lives or we reject Him. He came to His own and His own did not receive Him. But to those who did receive Him He gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12).
Now that is a gift worth having.•