Christmas remains the most universal, powerful symbol of both humanity and divinity, not only in the West but in the entire world. I have listened, transfixed with delight, to Christmas carols sung in hotel lobbies all around the world, even China.
Christmas has always had its enemies. The chief project of modernity over the past 200 years has been to try to kill God. Even where this dismal endeavour progresses culturally, the God that cannot be killed at all is the infant at Christmas.
Still, as Dickens suggested in A Christmas Carol, you can tell something about a person, and a culture, by their attitude to Christmas.
In truth, Christmas is a universal symbol that spreads nothing but goodwill and hope to everyone. At every Christmas table surely every neighbour is welcome. It is also true that Christianity is true. And that it is completely distinctive.
Christianity stakes its claims to truth on specific historical events in a well-documented time. No other religion has its supreme god seemingly defeated on Earth, arrested, tortured, humiliated and killed in the most gruesome fashion.
One of our best-credentialed and most prolific historians of biblical times, John Dickson, who teaches at Oxford and Sydney universities, has written a marvellous new book, Is Jesus History?
You could make no greater contribution to cultural literacy and possibly the Kingdom of God than encouraging everybody, certainly every high school and university student, to read it. Give it as a gift especially to unbelieving family and friends.