I believe in miracles. Mankind can explain so much now. We can explain why the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. We can explain the wonders of the age. We can land robots on far away planets and send probes into deep space. Science can explain so much.
But science does not have all the answers and we live in an age where many treat science as a religion. Science does not explain why one man may lay down his life for another. Science sometimes has no answers for a healing that defies medicine, but happens nonetheless.
This is a season to reflect on the unknown -- the miraculous and the divine. Jews are in a period of celebrating a great miracle of light. Oil that should have only lasted a day managed to last eight days in the Temple of Jerusalem. Hanukkah, the eight crazy nights as comedian Adam Sandler dubbed the holiday, celebrates those nights.
Christians, too, will soon celebrate their own miracle. A virgin gave birth to a child who is Christ the Lord. Academics have scoffed at this, claiming that the Apostle Matthew misinterpreted language from the prophet Isaiah. Two thousand years of Christian orthodoxy holds otherwise.
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In fact, it is a central tenet of the Christian faith that Mary was a virgin. It is an impossibility unless it’s a miracle. But then so many choose to dismiss miracles or figure out the science behind the miracle. When they cannot explain it, they reject it as impossible. But some things just are.
Christ was born of a virgin, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. Three days later he rose again from the dead. The eyewitness accounts of Christ’s life from his friends Matthew, Peter and John note how Christ’s brothers rejected him in life.
Peter’s eyewitness account, written in the Gospel of Mark, notes that Christ’s own family tried to stage an intervention. “He is out of his mind,” Peter claims they said in Mark 3:21. Mary, who had an angel appear to her, thinks her son has lost his mind. Jesus’ own brothers, according to Jesus’ best friend, John, not only did not believe he was the Son of God, but also told him in John 7 to get out of town.
Attending seminary with a professor who grew up an atheist, the professor recounted to my class that one of the meaningful moments of his conversion was reflecting on this. The brothers who tried to stage an intervention then told their brother to leave town finally, after Jesus’ death, proclaim him Christ the Lord. They believed he physically rose from the dead and they were willing to die to defend the brother they rejected in life.
Science does not explain that. Some would now prefer to imagine it did not happen and the eyewitnesses should be dismissed. But for more than two thousand years billions of people have not only believed, but shaped their lives accordingly.
Perhaps it is mass hysteria. Perhaps it is all a delusion. But as mythologies come and go, the Christian faith keeps growing and spreading. Perhaps instead of delusion, it is real and based on miracles science cannot explain.
The beauty of the Christmas season is that sense of wonder, excitement and anticipation of the miraculous. Children wait to see what is left under the tree. Parents wait to see the excitement in their children’s eyes. And people of faith wait for that baby, born in a manger, to come again. Merry Christmas.
Erick Erickson is a Fox News contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.