A long time ago, in a manger far, far away….
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.”
Humanity was in a time of turmoil. Judea’s leaders, in an act of self-preservation, had aligned themselves with the ever-reaching Roman Empire. Regional governors, known for their tyrannical acts, oversaw the various territories within the empire (you may be familiar with the infamous Pontius Pilate). The Pharisees and Sadducees, two different schools of Judaic thought, were in competition for control of the temple and Sanhedrin; the highest court of justice and supreme council in Jerusalem. The Zealots sought violent, armed rebellion against the Roman occupation, and there was a general sense of resentment in the land, as many prayed for deliverance from their enemies.
Humanity had been waiting, and in true God-fashion, he delivered in the most unexpected of ways.
In a little town in Bethlehem, in a modest stable, Mary delivered into the world baby Jesus. No one but Mary, Joseph, a few shepherds, and a trio of kings in a distant land had any idea at the time of what was to come, but this baby would change the course of humanity forever. In the years that would follow, numerous attempts on his life would be made; he would defy the religious leaders of the times, heal the sick, feed the hungry, and save the lost. He would go on to spawn the largest movement the world had ever seen, all beginning from himself, then the twelve, and to the world at large. His story would become an all-time best-seller, translated in over 500 languages fully, and nearly 3000 languages in part. But more than that, he would rise as mediator between man and God to reconcile what was once lost, and expand his offer of salvation to all who would believe.