She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us).
With Christmas being less than two days away now, I've been doing some relevant reading on the 'net and stumbled upon some rather disheartening news. While I should say that it isn't too surprising, it is still troubling to think that the number of people who actually believe in the facts of our Savior's birth lessens with each passing year.
The words of this hymn are becoming more and more "myth" to more and more people every year.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King!"
Christ, by highest heav'n adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin's womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th'incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.
In 1994, 85% of professing Christians believed in the virgin birth:
"A Harris poll taken in July 1994... Of the four in five Americans who described themselves as Christians, 85% believed in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. "
In 2003, 80% believed:
Nearly one out of five (20%) people don't believe that Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary, one of the central points in the traditional story but the most disputed idea in the survey. Sixty percent said they "absolutely believe" Jesus was born to a virgin, 16 percent mostly believe and 5 percent are uncertain.
"This shows a glaring inconsistency in the American mind to hold that Jesus was divine but that he did not rise from the dead or was born of a virgin," said the Rev. Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
"Americans are growing increasingly comfortable with a cafeteria-line-style spirituality in which they pick and choose whatever doctrines seem pleasing and leave those that seem distasteful," Mohler said. "The denial of the virgin birth eventually comes as a part of a wholesale denial of orthodox Christianity itself."
Then in 2007, only 75% believed:
Three out of four adults (75%) said that they believe Jesus Christ was born to a virgin, Mary, as described in the gospel narratives.
I understand that surveys and statistics have their purposes and that one can really paint any picture one wants to paint with just about any numbers. Yet, sadly I find a consistent set of brush strokes regardless of the medium in which I read about these things.
While secular society and science may walk hand in hand with their "faith" in Darwin's theory of evolution, we as Christians need to protect the facts held true in the accurate and inerrant word of God. This year, remember the absolute miracle of the Christmas season and the infinitely valuable gift found in God being born to a virgin, living on Earth as a man - a perfect and sinless life, His suffering and dying on the cross (bearing my sins and yours), then being buried and rising again three days later (defeating death), and finally ascending to heaven to reign at the right hand of God for all eternity (upon where He intercedes for us to the Father). In this amazing story we find the true meaning of what it is to be a Christian and the joy that we should have everyday, especially during this time of the year.
I pray that each and every one of us has a safe and joyous fellowship with family and friends this Christmas. May we all too have a chance to share the real story of Christmas with someone this year, sharing the forgiveness and love of which we are so richly blessed!
The grace and peace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, be with you all. Merry Christmas!!