The greatest story every told

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About two-thousand years ago an event occurred so important to the future of mankind that this date is still celebrated and revered by more than 3 billion people around the world.

A baby was born in a stable behind an inn near the little town of Bethlehem in what is now Israel. It is from these humble beginnings that emerged what many people consider the greatest story ever told - the birth of Jesus Christ.

This event fulfilled the prophesies of ancient scriptures which predicted that God would send his son to take the sins of mankind upon himself, be crucified, suffer at the hands of his people, die on the cross and be resurrected from the grave to live forever in paradise.

This story is well documented in the Bible and has been recited over and over by billions of people, including some of the most gifted scholars and theologians the world has ever known, for nearly 2,000 years. It is safe to say more time and effort has been devoted to understanding this story than any other concept in history.

This is a story about love, forgiveness, miracles, faith and redemption. No matter what your personal beliefs or religious orientation, you have to admit there must be something to this story for it to have been repeated and celebrated many times by so many people with such conviction for so long. Indeed, the collective understanding of this phenomenon - some call it a miracle - is one of the things that make it so unique, so powerful, so irrefutable.

The story is even more remarkable in light of the message - that through Jesus Christ ordinary human beings may receive a never-ending shower of blessings, including forgiveness for our sins and eternal redemption, which most religious scholars describe as a spiritual life that continues long after the physical body is gone.

Amid the din and clamor surrounding the holidays it is easy to get sidetracked and lose sight of what Christmas is really all about - the Big Picture. It is easy to get caught up in the superficial - Santa Claus, 'Jingle Bells,' mistletoe, fruit cake, toys, wish lists and bright lights. The danger in getting distracted by all the hype is failing to contemplate and fully appreciate the miraculous story and profound meaning of Christmas; in other words, why we are celebrating. When we succumb to these forces we deprive ourselves of good medicine for sick souls.

To be sure, there is reason to celebrate Christmas and what it symbolizes that transcends material gifts, family gatherings, and individual circumstances, no matter what they may be. Christmas is more than a clever marketing ploy to fill corporate coffers with money before the end of the year. It is more than a day off to travel over the hill and through the woods to grandma's house. It is no less than a window into the meaning of life, which is why it is so important. Christmas is a time to go take a look through that window.

So please join us in taking some time this Christmas to spend some quiet time contemplating your own reality and giving thanks for the blessings that were so freely given to each of us by the Creator of the Universe … whatever your image of that spirit may be.

All of us at the South County Spotlight would like to wish all of you the very best this Christmas.