Christmas gift

Stephen McGinty (feature, 24 December) struggles with “the central message of Christmas, the concept of a benign force that loves us all”. However, God, the creator of the universe and author of life, is not an impersonal “benign force”, but a personal, loving God.

So highly does God value relationships, He has chosen to exist as a community of three distinct but united divine persons, Father, Son and Spirit, instead of as a peerless single consciousness.

He does not just want to instruct us, but for us to know him, bringing us into his divine communion. The ultimate indication of God’s reaching out to us is his appearance among us as a human. What better way to show that the awesome and almighty God wants to relate to us in a way analogous to human friendship and family?

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Through his words and deeds, Jesus challenges, informs and startles us, calling us to repentance and transformation, offering grace and forgiveness, pointing forward to his own death and resurrection as the key to reconciliation with God, satisfying within Himself the conflicting demands of ultimate justice and mercy.

The Christian life is then an ongoing relationship with God, experiencing his presence, influence and guidance continually.

The proof of the Christmas pudding is in the eating.

I don’t know why “the age of the Higgs boson” makes the Christian message less credible. On the contrary, several areas of recent scientific progress have made belief in an intelligent creator God much more plausible.

Richard Lucas

Solas – Centre for Public Christianity

St Peter’s Street


George Kerevan’s amusing article, (“December liberty brings its own problems”, 23 December), is marred by historical inaccuracies. The idea that Jesus was born in 4BC is a mistake based on supposing that the Herod mentioned was Herod the Great and because he died in that year. But he was not in good health beforehand. Moreover, the “Massacre of the Innocents”, like most of the Birth Narrative, is an invention. This explain the incompatibility of the gospel accounts.

As for the “census”, this was merely a means of assessing householders in Judaea for tax. Moreover, it was conducted in 6CE, well after the birth of Jesus, probably in Galilee (a province not subject to the “census”).

The evangelists involved attempted to devised an account that gave Jesus a background and origin commensurate with his deification. In truth, they knew nothing of the circumstances of his birth.

Steuart Campbell

Dovecot Loan