Who can change the world?
It was a shock to wake up on November 9th to the news that Donald Trump had been elected as the next President of the USA. For weeks and months the commentators and pollsters had predicted a Clinton victory. Since I am neither an American citizen nor living in the USA in one sense it doesn’t matter who the American President is. But in another sense it does. The US President is perhaps the most powerful person in the world. The things he does will have an impact on my life whether I like it or not.
Time will tell whether Donald Trump will change the world. It’s certainly a possibility. There’s not many people we can say that about. The opportunity to change the world is only given to a very few. In the great sweep of history, it’s surprising how few people can genuinely be said to have changed the world. Some British Prime Ministers may have dramatically changed our country, but have any in my lifetime changed the world?
I wonder if the same could be said about US Presidents. Who was the last US President who you would say changed the world? And what about other political leaders? I suppose Lenin changed the world by forging the Soviet Union and Ghandi did by helping to bring about the end of the British Empire. I expect you’d add a few more to that list, but there aren’t that many who have changed the world.
This is what makes Christmas all the more extraordinary. For Jesus was a baby who changed the world. He lies helpless in his mother’s arms in a rough shed. He has been born into a family without connections or pedigree. His arrival has gone completely unnoticed by the powers that be. The first visitors are shepherds, themselves a bunch of outsiders. And yet this is an event that will change the world.
Lacking the wisdom of an adult, the strength of a grown up and the power of a President, Jesus’ birth seems utterly unremarkable and forgettable. Yet from this moment on, nothing will ever be the same. For the child in the manger is none other than the infinite God. The creator and sustainer of the universe has chosen to take finite form. God has come down to our level. God has become one of us. The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (John 1:14 )
For two millennia our society has used this moment to mark time. We talk about dates being BC (Before Christ) or AD (Anno Domini). Even the more neutral version, which changes the label to BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era) retains Christ’s birth as the hinge point of human history.
Why was the birth of Jesus so significant? Why do many regard it as the hinge point of human history? Why did the birth of Jesus mean that nothing would ever be the same again?
These are the questions we will explore during our Christmas worship. Why not come and add your voice to the celebration and your question to the exploration as we mark the arrival of the baby who changed the world.
To see other messages from Neil, click on the appropriate month in the table below.
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