In one of the earlier seasons of the popular sci-fi series “Dr. Who”, the time lord and his charges end up on a space station orbiting the Earth 200,000 years in the future. This is not any ordinary vehicle. It houses the central source of news for the entire planet.
In order to access the vast knowledge of what amounts to the Internet in that time, higher level reporters buy a chip which is implanted in their heads. When information is desired, the chip pops out of their forehead and a huge ray of light transmits all knowledge.
What they don’t know is that the information they receive is controlled by a malicious alien on the floor 500 of the space station. The whole episode, even though broadcast over a decade ago, seemed to be aimed at taking a shot at fake news before we even had the term.
As I ponder the birth of Jesus celebrated today, I realize that this event was the greatest news in history. Of course, like in the Dr. Who episode and the falsehoods posing as news today, the narrative about Jesus has been determined over two millennia by who is writing it.
As a follower of Jesus, I tend to rely on what I read in the Bible about him. What it says about Him is that He was God who limited himself by taking human form. In a supernatural miracle, the Holy Spirit created human life in the womb of his mother Mary.
The entire episode in theological terms is called the Incarnation. As I thought about it today, I was fascinated.
It is really hard to define in my own limited brain. The reporters in the Dr. Who show I watched were a faulty analogy. What it DID imagine is the inputting of huge amounts of knowledge into the brain of a human. But I risk heresy if I use that scenario as an accurate portrayal of what the birth of Jesus meant for us. The Incarnation was so much more.
Whatever the nature of the Incarnation, it was a seminal event in the journey of mankind. It changed everything; it altered history. Sometimes that term is altered into “His Story.”
In church today and on a Catholic website I was exposed to the following description of how important the Incarnation was in the human story. My priest read this Christmas Proclamation from the Roman Catholic liturgy.
The twenty-fifth day of December.
In the five thousand one hundred and ninety-ninth year of the creation of the world from the time when God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth;
the two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seventh year after the flood;
the two thousand and fifteenth year from the birth of Abraham;
the one thousand five hundred and tenth year from Moses and the going forth of the people of Israel from Egypt;
the one thousand and thirty-second year from David’s being anointed king;
in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel;
in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
the seven hundred and fifty-second year from the foundation of the city of Rome;
the forty second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus;
the whole world being at peace,
in the sixth age of the world,
Jesus Christ the eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,
desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming,
being conceived by the Holy Spirit, and nine months having passed since his conception,
was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary, being made flesh.
–From Roman Martyrology
One may quibble about the dating, but even so this piece does reflect how Jesus appeared in history, as we were minding our own business.
Once He did, we didn’t have an excuse for business as usual anymore.