These are the kind of people I live among...
Shoot me. Please.
By JAMIE McKEAN
Special to The Eagle
Well, it's Christmas time again, and while we all can get caught up in the lights, decorations, shopping, elves, reindeer and, of course, Ol' Saint Nick, let's take some time to reflect upon what this day really is: the birthday of Jesus Christ.
A birthday, but not any birthday. This was a virgin birth. Now think about what that meant back then. Here was Mary, engaged to be married to Joseph, and all of a sudden she is pregnant. Think about how Joseph felt, the shame, betrayal and confusion. Yet, he chose to believe Mary and stood by her side throughout the pregnancy and birth.
Think about the day and age this happened. This was a time when baby-mommas and baby-daddies were virtually unheard of. Premarital sex and babies out-of-wedlock? Rare.
What about Mary's and Joseph's friends and families? Think about what they must have thought when they heard of her pregnancy. What made them change their mind? Is it because they knew Mary and knew that she would never be capable of such indecent behavior?
Or was it because they wanted to believe? What about the kings and wise men? What made them believe?
I ask this because, in times such as these, I wonder what would happen if the same scenario took place today. A virgin birth.
While today pre-marital sex and babies out-of-wedlock have become somewhat of a norm, would anyone believe Mary when she told them it was a virgin birth? Think of the ridicule, disbelief and harassment Mary would face in today's society.
And what about Joseph? Would he stay by her side?
Mary would be shunned, initially because everyone would think she had cheated on her fiancé, then because of her denial. To make it worse, what if she told everyone she was a virgin? No one would believe her.
As she would persist in her innocence, in the reality of her story, she might even be hospitalized for mental illness.
Would anyone believe her story? Would she have to take it to the media to be heard? And if she did make it to the Today show, think of all the "professionals" who would come forth to disprove her story. Imagine all the tests, scans, mental evaluations, etc., that she would be subjected to.
As if this isn't enough, think about what would happen when the baby was born. Mary definitely would not be met by kings and wise men, probably not even friends or family. The baby (Jesus, just to remind you), immediately would be whisked away, poked and prodded, held for evaluation. DNA would be taken and matched up with every male who ever looked Mary's way, her past combed over with a fine tooth comb, looking for something, anything.
What would happen if Mary's virgin birth could not be disproved, despite all the tests and evaluations? Who would believe her? Would Joseph come back? How about her friends and family?
And if they did come back, would they really believe her, or would there always be doubt in the back of their mind? What would become of the baby? Would Mary keep him, knowing that he was something special, miraculous, or would she give him up because of the hurt and anguish he caused her?
What has become of us? Why have we become so jaded? Why don't we want to believe? Yes, we have technology now that could not have been comprehended at that time, but does this explain it?
As a skeptic to most things, this is one thing that I would want to believe in. I might be frowned upon and face ridicule and harassment for my belief, but I think we should believe in something -- something beyond us, beyond reason, and most definitely, something miraculous.
Why not believe that it wasn't just coincidence that the Secret Santa handing out hundreds of dollars at the bus station chose a drug addict, down-on-his-luck, who had prayed for the very first time the night before for some kind of sign. Or the "lay-away angel" who chose to randomly pay off the bill for a suicidal mom's presents for her kids?
Why not believe that this is the work of a higher power? A last ditch effort to make those going through tough times know that there is hope, and to make them believe?
Let's not mark it as coincidence, but a true Christ-mas miracle.
As we reflect on this day, I want to wish everyone a merry Christmas. I wish everyone not only a great year, but the very best year - a year of prosperity, joy, hope and, most of all, miracles.
* A native of College Station, Jamie McKean is a graduate of Texas A&M University, Class of '97, and is project manager for JaCody Inc.
"I am an atheist, thank God." -Oriana Fallaci