However, we shouldn’t be surprised that there are those who want to minimize Christmas and maximize the secular and materialistic aspect of this season. We have a growing segment of “nones” (people with no religion)in our country.
Have you ever noticed the number of celebrities who call themselves atheist? There are the militant atheists like Kathy Griffin, who is profane and hostile toward Christianity. But you also have Jodie Foster, who claims to be an atheist, but who is far more benevolent toward religion and says, “I absolutely love religions and the rituals. Even though I don’t believe in God, we celebrate pretty much every religion in our family with the kids.”
Have you ever noticed how many professed atheists are college professors and authors and philosophers? They are in positions of influence and power. http://www.thebestschools.org/blog/2011/12/01/50-top-atheists-in-the-world-today/
Thomas Paine, a noted American atheist and author, declared in the face of death, “I would give worlds if I had them, that The Age of Reason had never been published. O Lord, help me! Christ, help me! O God what have I done to suffer so much? But there is no God! But if there should be, what will become of me hereafter?”
Mirabeau, the noted French statesman said, “Give me more laudanum, that I may not think of eternity. O Christ! O Jesus Christ!”
You see, the Bible says that God has set eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Man in his depravity often denies the existence of God and refuses to embrace the truth that we were made for eternity, but still cannot escape the haunting truth of Solomon’s wisdom. Something within us bears witness to the reality that there is more to life than this present world offers.
In the first pages of Genesis it becomes obvious that the men of earth longed for eternity or heaven or something beyond their mere earthly existence. In Genesis 11 we discover that the people of the earth gathered in the plain of Shinar and proposed to construct a tower, a ziggurat that would reach into the heavens.
They thought they could make a name for themselves by building a stairway to the stars or a skyscraper with an elevator that would take them all the way up to God’s penthouse.
In fact, when God saw this ridiculous project concocted by the irrational minds of finite men, He brought the building program to an abrupt halt. He confused the language of the builders so that they could not understand one another, called the place Babel and scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
It is impossible for any man to work his way into the presence of God. Mortal man, obviously shrouded in definable limits, through his little self-help projects or major man-made religions cannot bridge the gap that has been eroded by centuries of sin and work his way into heaven or elevate himself into the presence of God. Therefore, the tower of Babel stands as a monument to the foolish notion of mankind trying to work his way into the realm of God’s favor.
Conversely, Bethlehem is a monument to God’s successful effort to enter man’s world of confusion and wickedness with the answer that provides hope and life and joy. Since man could not reach up into God’s arena, God decided to reach down into man’s arena with love and grace.
At Bethlehem we observe act one and scene one in God’s drama of redemption. This is where God expressed His love in the “unspeakable gift” of His only begotten Son. In this obscure village the Son of God became the Son of Man so that the sons of men might become the sons of God. At Bethlehem “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1: 14).
We can look for happiness in one direction and search for life in another direction. We can build first one tower and then another, but they are all Babels.
Oh, the vanity of man’s Babel and the victory of God’s Bethlehem. The wisdom of Bethlehem is to the wisdom of Babel as the depth of an ocean is to the depth of a mud puddle.
Come then and let us join the endless procession of the ages and make our way in humility and hopefulness, not to Babel, but to Bethlehem, to the place where God bestowed upon mankind His most precious gift. “O, come let us adore Him, Christ, the King.”