The birth of Christ more than 2,000 years ago will always be one of the greatest stories ever told, one of great hope in a world that needs hope more than ever.

The world was a different place when Christ was sent. Life was shorter. Comforts were few. Choices were limited. Much evil existed, though.

As the commercialization of Christmas gets worse year after year, the story of little baby Jesus often gets lost in the frenzy surrounding the Christmas holiday season. Children who are taught the story of Christ’s birth, though, are more awestruck over that than any tale involving Santa Claus.

Imagine a time when shepherds tended sheep, guarding the lambs that would soon be used for Passover. Imagine Mary and Joseph, man and wife, looking for a place to rest in Bethlehem as the birth of Christ neared. They settled for the most meager accommodations.

Then came the birth of Christ.

The Bible tells us an angel appeared before the shepherds, announcing “today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Joyous, they went quickly to see the newborn King.

In the book of Matthew, we are told, “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east and are come to worship Him.’”

There is much more to the story of Christ’s birth, of course, and for centuries it has been told and retold. Along the way, though, the story about the birth of Christ has been overlooked by too many people in too many places.

It’s been overlooked because we live in a time when Christmas displays depicting the nativity are banned from government property, when prayer is considered offensive to some parents of school-age children, when the Ten Commandments cannot be displayed in a court of law, when prayer before a high school football game is declared illegal and unwanted and when Christ is considered a myth or legend, untrue and too simplistic.

Those who rush through this wonderful season without a thought of Bethlehem and the Christ child and the heavenly magic of the birth of Christ are missing much. Those who are intolerant of believers, who attempt to dismiss the celebration of the birth of Christ, simply do not know what they’re missing.

Instead of condemning or ignoring the foolish, we should teach them about Christ, for Christians can attest to the joy and wonder that Christ’s birth brought to the world.

Merry Christmas.

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