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The entire country pauses on Dec. 25, as Christians commemorate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, known to Christians as God’s Christ and Savior, and known to many as The Prince of Peace.
The impact of this one special life has reverberated through the centuries. Kingdoms and governments rise and fall; the celebrities of one generation are largely forgotten by the next; powerful institutions and organizations — from central banks to giant business enterprises to mighty armies — come and go, but the influence of Jesus of Nazareth endures.
From the very beginning, Jesus’ mission was misunderstood. Many of his own people had expected God to send them a mighty man of war, not a healer and teacher.
Today also, Christians often misunderstand their Savior, as when they invoke the New Testament as justification for government to forcibly redistribute wealth in the name of charity. The social gospel, social justice, and liberation theology strains of Christianity have overlooked one fundamental principle of Jesus’ life — one that should be especially obvious at this time of year when we think of Jesus as a tiny infant: He never used force to compel others to do good.
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