Touched by an Angel
Rev. Dennis Marquardt
INTRO: A clear night's sky, peaceful shepherds watching over their flocks at night, a peaceful town called Bethlehem at the outskirts of the big city Jerusalem, Joseph and Mary lying comfortably next to the baby Jesus on a bed of straw while animals peacefully stroll around, the world is full of joy... and... and... WAIT A MINUTE! This isn't the real story of the times ... this is 20th century Christmas pageant stuff, the real story and the real world of that day was more like this:
* Terrible political unrest, politicians were hated and not trusted! They were quite corrupt! There were moves to "throw the bums out of Jerusalem!"
* Overspending by big government had caused huge new taxes to be created, hence the need for Joseph and Mary to travel back to register for another round of new taxes! The average wage earner couldn't keep a decent standard of living any more!
* The religious institutions were getting more and more involved with politics instead of meeting the spiritual needs of the people!
* Divorce was a common problem, almost at the 50% mark!
* Abortion was common, dead babies often seen floating through open sewer lines in the cities!
* The court system was corrupt; criminals were constantly going free on technicalities!
* Nations were constantly redrawing their boundaries; there was a nervous peace around the world, especially with tensions in the Middle East.
* The educated were denying miracles and the supernatural; they believed that science and technology were the best hopes for mankind and the future!
* The disparity between rich and poor was getting greater and greater all the time.
This is hardly the picture of that first Christmas most people have! Even the healthy religious people of that day were losing hope that the Messiah would ever come, they had been saying this for hundreds of years now and it had yet to happen! Even they were losing hope!
In the ...
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