“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of deep darkness, on them has a light shone… For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”—Isaiah 9: 2, 6–7 (ESV).
Continuing Breitbart News’s first report in this series quoting the Gospel of Luke: On Christmas, Christians celebrate the birth of a man whom they believe is also God, Jesus of Nazareth, whom they believe to be the Bible’s promised Messiah (or “Christ” in Greek). For those who call themselves by his name, the birth of Jesus began a thirty-three year lifelong journey, the last three years of which would be filled with a teaching ministry that would inform—and transform—the lives of billions of his followers for the next twenty centuries.
At the end of those years, Jesus would die upon a cross as the “Lamb of God” in what Christians believe was a substitutionary death to pay the price and penalty for sin, after which they hold he was bodily resurrected from the dead on Easter Sunday to eternal life, securing forgiveness and eternal salvation for all who would seek him in the millennia to follow.
Christians believe that Jesus was born to die, to reconcile God and mankind.
Continuing the narrative from the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament, the story of the birth of Jesus Christ:
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told to them.
And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
And when the came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to you word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”
And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.
And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him. — Luke 2:1–40 (ESV).
America celebrates sincere expressions of the full range of peaceful faiths through the Constitution’s guarantees of religious liberty in the Bill of Rights, written in the First Amendment alongside rights of free speech and freedom of the press. Celebrating Christmas and respecting those who regard it as a holy day worthy of public acknowledgement is an essential aspect of upholding those fundamental rights.
Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.