by Lee Strobel
This book was better than I expected. Although I wouldn’t have used the term Christmas throughout. Essentially the book is about who the baby in the manger was. Below are some quotes from the book that I highlighted.
Spring is most likely, because shepherds were watching their flocks at night and this is when ewes bore their young. In fact, around AD 200, theologians concluded Jesus was born on May 20.
In AD 385, Pope Julius I declared December 25 as the day for celebrating Christ’s birth. “He chose that date,” Christian researcher Gretchen Passantino told me, “partly to challenge the pagan celebration of the Roman god Saturnalia, which was characterized by social disorder and immorality.”
Note: the date given above and the date for Pope Julius I do not match up, although other sources still say Pope Julius I with a date of around AD 350. This is just a quote from the book.
“It flows out of the point I just made. Christians believe that as wonderful as Jesus’ life and teachings and miracles were, they were meaningless if it were not historically factual that Christ died and was raised from the dead and that this provided atonement, or forgiveness, of the sins of humanity.
“So Mark in particular, as the writer of probably the earliest gospel, devotes roughly half his narrative to the events leading up to and including one week’s period of time and culminating in Christ’s death and resurrection.
“My parents got divorced when I was seventeen,” he said—and surprisingly, even after all these years I could still detect hurt in his voice. “That really put a stake in any religious heart I may have had. I wondered, Where does God come in? Why didn’t they go to a rabbi for counseling? What good is religion if it can’t help people in a practical way? It sure couldn’t keep my parents together. When they split up, part of me split as well.
That’s because Christians believe that Jesus wasn’t born into this world merely to identify with us, console us, or even lead us. His assignment from the outset, they claim, was to die for us—to actually lay down his life as a spiritual payment for the wrongdoing we’ve done, so that we can be released from the penalty we owe. It’s his-life-for-ours, with the result being, as the old Christmas carol “Hark! The Herald Angels” says, “God and sinners, reconciled.”
Notice the extra tidbit about divorce in that next to last quote? The pain does not go away even when a grown adult.