If there is one good thing to say about the COVID-19 pandemic, it's that it has given columnists, journalists, and historians something new to write about at Christmas time.
Example: how would the news media of the First Century have covered the story of the birth of Jesus? Answer: they wouldn't even have tried. Newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and the Internet didn't even exist.
If they had, the birth of Christ wouldn't have rated more than a brief summary, such as “A mysterious star has been reported hovering over a stall in Bethlehem, occupied by a young woman, her husband and newborn child.”
Still, the unmoving star would have aroused comment among the amateur astronomers of the town. And so would have the arrival of three well-dressed strangers who said they had come to present gifts to the baby. The most common explanation: "This trio must be part of the census the government has ordered."
The story of Christ's birth is the product of many minds and imaginations during the 2,000-odd years since Jesus was born. I had planned to write a column listing how the history of the Christian faith has been magnified and festooned in ways that not even Christ himself would have believed possible.
Has that been a crime? Not at all. True believers in most worthy causes are a necessary part of the transaction. But what about the true doubters who question many or most of the revelations that are attached to various religions? I say let the cynics have their time in the spotlight. They can be just as useful as the cheering squads.
At this point, I must digress into the realm of full disclosure.
As I type these words, my fingers are numb because of the 15-degree temperature outside my condo here in Massachusetts, 40 miles west of Boston. A major snowstorm is scheduled to move in later this afternoon. My condo unit's heating system has chosen this day to shut down. A couple of other complications have set in; I won't bore you with the details. So I will wind things down right now.
But not before I wish you and everyone else in the TBN family a first-class Christmas and a similar New Year's day. COVID-19 is making this season less joyful than we'd like, but hope springs eternal, and 2021 promises a new and brighter day. Hang in there, chillun.