Here’s what I remember. I was 25, married, and living in Clarksburg, WV. I had a two-year-old daughter and by the end of the year my son was on the way. We moved from a small cabin on 88 acres deep in the mountains to a Cape Cod home on 5 acres just a few miles outside of town.
I played the piano in the same small church Mike’s childhood church. Mike worked at the family business. I taught preschool at Salem Methodist Church and took graduate classes at Salem College. I think we drove a Subaru and a Camaro Z-28. I can’t remember where we vacationed, if we did.
Sad to admit, but there is absolutely no recall of any major event happening in my state, nation, or the world. Honestly, I can’t even tell you who was president. My memories are centered on my immediate family. If it didn’t touch my personal life, then it wasn’t worth remembering.
I’m now adjusting my opinion of the Hebrew people alive the night Jesus was born and still alive when He was crucified. The year of his birth shook the nation of Judah. Zachariah had delivered a stunning prophecy about his son John and a coming Messiah. People talk when an older barren woman has a baby. People also talk when a young girl is pregnant out-of-wedlock.
Months later there were the shepherds running through town shouting about angels in the sky, a new star over a manger, and a baby that caused their knees to bow in reverence.
I wonder how long it took for life to return to normal and the shepherds became a distant memory. Doesn’t matter because about two years later a violent attack destroyed their security and should’ve stirred their memories.
It started with a parade. You know, the streets were a buzz when a caravan of wise men from the East rode into town. It wasn’t long before the horrors of Roman soldiers, swords, and blood filled the streets of Bethlehem. I can’t imagine anyone could forget the screams of children and mommies as dads pleaded for the lives of their young boys.
Mary, Joseph, and Jesus fled to Egypt and the nation of Judah and the town of Bethlehem forgot them. There’s a mystery here. If the people had remembered the miracles of Jesus’ birth linked to the horrendous reaction of His enemies, they could have silenced his critics in John 7:41-44.
Jesus never talked about the past. I don’t recall a time that Jesus ever returned to Bethlehem. I can’t find a passage where he defended His incarnation and proved his birth was the fulfillment of prophecy.
The people in that little town knew firsthand that life and death came with Jesus. I ponder these things. Were the parents, grandparents, and siblings of murdered babies at the foot of the cross remembering a miraculous star, some jubilant shepherds, and the awe-inspiring worship of a baby boy?
Maybe 30 years was simply too long. The pain had healed. Life went on. No one remembered. But how sad, the birth of the Messiah Savior of the world, forgotten, for a time.
Google stirred my memories of 1983. Ronald Reagan dealt with a social security crisis, the US and USSR played Russian roulette with nuclear bomb testings, the worlds’ largest robbery of 25,000,000 pounds was taken from Heathrow, London. There were floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes that stole lives. Over 200 marines were killed in a Beirut bombing while Israelis died in bus bombings.
It took the crucifixion to sear forever in our hearts and minds the story of the Gospel. Jesus left His heavenly home to be born in a manger, to show us the Father through teaching and miracles, to pay our sin debt on the cross, and to rise to life on the third day, so He can sit at the Father’s side interceding for us so that we never forget the only event in all of history that matters.