Mary the Mother of God
January 1, 2014
And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. (Luke 2:16-21)
The days after Christmas are a time for us to reflect on the grandeur of God. This is a time for me to think about my relationship with God. What would it take for me to be closer to God in the year 2014? What are my beliefs and convictions? What beliefs and convictions have I taught my children?
The reality of Christmas reversed original sin. Christmas brought God and us together again with endless possibilities of grace. Christmas made it possible for every human being to get into the kingdom. St Luke in his gospel reports how Mary reflected on all these things. After all Jesus was her savior too. And he is my personal savior and your personal savior.
If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist. If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an Economist.
Our greatest need was forgiveness and redemption, so God sent us a savior. The birth of the Savior fulfills our greatest need—that’s why so many people celebrate Christmas.
The birth of Jesus Christ had more influence on world history than the birth of any baby who ever lived.
Today, more people worship in the name of Jesus than in any other name. Two billion people claim to be followers of Jesus.
Jesus is the dominant figure of western culture. Jesus is the hinge on which the door of history swings—the point at which eternity intersects with time. Our present time 2014 is measured from the date of Jesus’ birth.
As we begin to use new calendars we are reminded that the calendars in India, and China, like those in Europe, Africa, the Americas and the Middle East, measure the centuries from the time of Jesus’ birth.
The Judeo-Christian religion is the foundation for the fundamental rights found in our constitution. Those rights led to legal protection of human life from the first moment of conception to the last moment of natural death. Eventually those rights opened our eyes to the evil of slavery and discrimination.
As we move into the year 2014 we are painfully aware that not everyone in our society accepts the teaching of Jesus. Not everyone follows the religion that he organized. In fact there are forces that are working passionately to undermine western civilization and especially Christianity. There really is a war on Judeo-Christian culture. There is a secular war on religion in general.
In the past few years there have been a rash of books that argue against organized religion, especially Christianity. The authors are atheists and secularists. They present religion as the greatest source of human conflict and violence. They think it should be eradicated.
The problem with these books is that they exaggerate the crimes attributed to religion, while ignoring the greater crimes of secular fanaticism and atheism.
History testifies that atheism and secularism are the real force behind the mass murders of the last century—Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Idi Amin and Pol Pot. All of these avowed atheists were responsible for the slaughter of over one hundred million people including the six million Jews and three million Christians in the Holocaust.
All the religions of the world put together have in 2,000 years not managed to kill as many people as have been killed in the name of atheism.
Atheists and secularists are only 3% of the population, yet with the help of the ACLU and other organizations, they have managed to remove God from the schools and the public square. They launch a yearly attack on Christmas. They are attempting to change the way we look at marriage. They have reversed 200 years of law in 50 states that used to protect human babies in the womb.
Why is such a small group so successful? Are they’re working harder than we are in these areas? Do they have more faith in their disbelief than we have in our belief? Is their conviction stronger than ours? Do they have more courage than we do?
Those who misjudge the human weaknesses of Christian people through the centuries fail to recognize all the good that has been accomplished in the name of Jesus Christ and the religion that he established.
Some years ago a respected historian wrote a book called: “How The Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. ” He demonstrated how the life of Jesus Christ influenced the way men and women lived for the last two thousand years.
Christianity has shaped the way we think about God—the way we think about ourselves—the way we think about the world.
Western civilization is indebted to the church for the preservation of ancient cultures and literature, including the bible. The church established universities and libraries. The Christian world view constructed international law and important legal principles.
The Christian religion teaches that there is an intelligent mind behind the universe. Modern experimental science had its impetus in that Christian concept. The Christian belief about design and order in the universe motivated scientists to pursue scientific inquiry. They were looking for the secrets that God has hidden in his creation.
Christianity invented hospitals and organized social services led by people like Vincent de Paul and Louise de Maurillac, Katherine Drexel and more recently Mother Teresa of India.
There is no doubt that Jesus Christ is still making a difference.
Mary reflected on all these things. As I reflect on these things, what would it take for me to be closer to God at this time in my life? What would it take for me to change from a lukewarm Christian to a person of mature faith and conviction? What would it take for me to be more active in promoting Christian principles so that the world will continue to be better off because Jesus came?
If you believe that Jesus can make a difference then the New Year is a time to teach your children how the whole world is better off because Jesus lived among us 2000 years ago.
Angels flare in the night
And awaken sleeping men:
Your savior has been born!
You will find him in a manger!
He is holding the universe in his tiny hand.
God has become man
That man might become God.
Christians stand up!
Hold your heads high!
The son of God is one of you.
Man, know your worth
Christians know your dignity