The birth of Christ, celebrated on Christmas day, either kicks off the greatest story ever told, or it kicks off the greatest hoax and conspiracy ever perpetrated by man on man. It’s that stark a choice. The words of Christ’s apostle’s, specifically St. Luke and St. Peter, leave us no other viable options, and they are adamant that it’s the former – that on Christmas followers of Christ celebrate the birth of Emanuel or God among us:
In as much as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed.
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we heard this voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word made more sure. You will do well to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God
2 Peter 16-21
The apostles of Satan, specifically the Washington post, are equally adamant that it’s the latter option – that on Christmas we celebrate fraud:
Gotta love how they browbeat Christians into saying “happy holidays” so as to not offend and then publish a story on Christmas day so as to maximally offend! Something tells me – cowards that they are – they won’t try that with Allah.
Anyhow, what’s a thinking person to do with this? Is Christmas the beginning of the greatest story ever told, or is it the beginning of the greatest lie ever told?
One rational option is to grant Luke, Peter and the other Apostles the standard assumption granted to all people – that their testimony is innocent until proven guilty. That is to say, in keeping with common sense and standard legal practice we presume their testimony to be true and honest and only reject it as false and dishonest when it is demonstrated (beyond a reasonable doubt) to be so on something akin to cross examination. Now, so the argument might continue, 2,000 years of cross-examination has failed to demonstrate the fundamental falsity and dishonesty of the Apostle’s testimony. Hence, the conclusion – Christmas celebrates God among us – is well justified. The conclusion is further strengthened by such undeniable facts as the Apostle’s swearing their testimony to be true, by their willingness to suffer and die for their testimony, and by the power of their witness to rapidly spread Christianity throughout the Roman Empire and inspire others to conversion, sainthood, and even martyrdom.
Another option is to assume nothing about the Apostle’s testimony and take a deep dive into history, archeology, law, science, philosophy, and theology in an effort to answer the Christmas question. To help people begin the process of doing that, in what follows I give you selected presentations and arguments used by contemporary Christian apologists – or Christian researchers, scholars and activists who use reason to defend the Christian religion – that attempt to rationally support the belief that on Christmas day Christians celebrate God stepping into history in the person of Jesus Christ, forever changing the arc of history and giving fallen man the hope of salvation.
First, I give you the apologetical work of Lee Strobel and Dr. Brant Pitre, who both use historical evidence and reasoning to argue for the divinity of Christ:
Next up is the legal-based apologetics of Dr. John Warwick Montgomery, who uses legal reasoning to argue for the divinity of Christ:
Next, I give you the cold-case apologetics approach of Jay Warner Wallace, who uses detective-style reasoning to try and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Christ is the King of Kings:
Next, I give you the scientific-based apologetics of Attorney Rick Larsen and Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.. Mr Larsen provides a compelling line of argument that modern astronomy backs up the story of the Star of Bethlehem., and Fr. Spitzer reminds us that people can still encounter the risen and bodily Jesus in the Shroud of Turin:
Finally, I give you Cambridge mathematician Dr. John Lennox’s presentation, “Christmas for Doubters”:
Now, I can already hear the objection ringing in my ear. You’ve only presented one side, the side for Christ. What about the other side, the side for anti-christ? To which I give two replies. First, whether you realize it or not, every time you go to school, watch TV, go to the movies, listen to music, or engage the main stream media, you’re getting the other side, the side of anti-christ. In today’s world, you can’t help but get that side. What you never get is what I provide above – a rational case for Christmas. Second, if you’re really interested in hearing both sides publicly debated, it’s a simple matter to find and watch formal debates on the existence of God and divinity of Christ. Just search the names “Dr. Gary Habermas”, “Dr. Mike Licona”, “Dr. William Lane Craig”, “Dr. J.P. Moreland”, “Dr. Hugh Ross”, “Dr. John Lennox”, “Dr. Alister McGrath”, or “Lee Strobel” and “debate”. You’ll find enough content to keep yourself occupied for years.
Now, for those who are perhaps moved more by art by than science, more by the heart than the head, I give you the following parting “argument”. Do you really think a lie could inspire this (be sure to listen to #12 – for unto us a child is born, and # 44 the Hallelujah Choir):
As for me, in response to Christ’s question – a question he puts to all of us – “who do you say I am”, I confess along with Peter:
“You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God”.
I suppose we are all destined to find out who is right and who is wrong soon enough …..