Happy Birthday

What Child is this who, laid to rest

On Mary’s lap is sleeping?

Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,

While shepherds watch are keeping?

This, this is Christ the King,

Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;

Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,

The Babe, the Son of Mary.

-William C. Dix, from "The Manger Throne"

Life of Jesus

#22 Happy Birthday

He was born a Bastard. His mother was a whore. His father was…well, no one knew who His father was. Some soldier passing through, maybe. His mother’s husband was a cuckold; too crazy or stupid to understand what had happened; making up lame stories to protect his young wife.

He had no formal education. He knew a bit, but when he tried to talk to the learned men of His town, all they could see was a boy who never went to school. He never was a financial success. He never owned a home. He did not have a business to pass on to his children. He did not even have children, or a wife for that matter. In fact, He never dated anyone at all. Not one Friday night out.

It is not that He did not love people. He loved more people than anyone I ever met; any ten people. But most of them did not return that love. The spurned Him, rejected, Him, kicked Him to the curb.

He was a philosopher, but He never wrote anything Himself. He was a public speaker, but He never collected appearance fees. He was well known in his country, but he never garnered an endorsement deal. For all of His work, He made no money at all; instead relying on the charity of others. In many ways, He was little more than a beggar. And it showed. He hung around with the lowest of the low: bums, prostitutes, peasants, the diseased and the destitute.

His friends were not much better. Most of them seemed embarrassed to know Him, and when the chips were down, they did not rush in to His aid. In fact, they betrayed Him right and left.

He ultimately made some important people very angry. He was beaten horribly. It is too graphic for me to go into details, but the description would put any “Faces of Death” video to shame. He was condemned to die for insurrection and rebellion: claiming to be a leader, a King no less, where he had no right to claim anything. He was executed as thousands jeered Him, but he died alone. More alone than anyone has ever been. He died with the weight of the world on his shoulders, and responsible for more evil than the worst villains in history.

By all earthly standards of His time, He was a miserable, miserable failure. And yet…

At the time of his death, there was a bill before the Roman Senate about Him. Rome, which then controlled over 60% of the world’s people, was considering declaring Him a god. The reason: He had healed hundreds, and thousands more had seen Him perform miracles. Rome was impressed, and several key Senators hoped to curry favor with Him by declaring Him such. His ideas impressed those who had listened to Him every day. They went out, took His message, and knocked over the world. Not nine pins down hoping to pick up the spare, but strike after strike after strike.

The Hindu religion, which boasts over 650 million followers, holds officially that He is the most evolved person ever, the highest order of creation. There is more written about Him in the Hindu cannon than in all western literature, and all of it is laudatory. Islam, home to over 840 million, calls him the greatest Teacher, and the greatest human to ever live. Several other major religions hold Him in high esteem, too.

If the saying “It’s not what you have, but whom you know” is correct, He has that covered too. He hangs around with the most influential people. It turns out He has a dad. Forget E.F. Hutton. When His dad speaks, EVERYBODY listens.

He has been written about, more than any other person has. In fact, if you took the number of books from #2-#153 and added them all up, they still would not equal the tomes about Him. There have been songs written about Him, too. You could sing for 80 years and not finish all of them. And while some did reject Him, more people have loved Him and do love Him than anyone else in History.

He has followers, enough to make any rock star or general green with envy. He is admired, respected, and cherished by billions the world over.

By any of today’s standards you want to use, He is a spectacular, phenomenal success.

I guess it is all how you look at it.

December 24, 2000

11 years later, and I still smile thinking 
about how many people were mad....

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