Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Poignant Passage that Inspired Silent Night

It is not really clear when the modern practice of public relations had its start, but in the end, the discipline is rooted in the artful use of the written and spoken word to advance a purpose.  If this was the singular definition of public relations then those of us who call ourselves its practitioners would be in very good company, for there have been some notables who came before us who changed the world through the nothing more than the power of words.

I would never presume to put the authors of the Old Testament or the four Gospels of the New Testament into any vocational category, but in the spirit of the season, I will use one of the authors as a role model for those of us who write as part of our jobs. 

To be sure, the Old and New Testaments are tremendous sources of literature in their own rite.  In the New Testament, Luke was responsible for the two-volume “Gospel According to Luke.”  Like Matthew, Mark and John, Luke’s primary purpose as a writer was to share the story of Jesus Christ. 

According to biblical scholars, Luke’s Gospel was written to show how God’s promises to Israel were fulfilled in Jesus, and how those promises also included the Gentiles.  Of the four Gospels, Luke’s has been praised by scholars for its historical perspective, its emphasis on events and their order, and their context against the backdrop of a longer history.  In modern-day public relations, we’d probably credit Luke for his talent for “staying on message.”

It is largely believed that “Luke” was written anywhere from 37 to 100 A.D.  All of the Gospels were designed to capture the life and times of Jesus and the early Catholic Church.  These Gospels have been the basis for Christianity’s teachings, which for many generations have spread around the world to many cultures, in many languages.

It’s impossible to know just how powerful Luke’s work has been over the many centuries.  People turn to the bible to learn, to understand, to be inspired, to strengthen their faith, to find hope, to find answers.  If the book did not provide some value, by 2012 we probably never would have heard of it.

There are many reasons to open a bible, but one of them surely is to marvel at the beauty of the Word and to reflect.  My favorite passage from the Gospel of Luke is his poignant account of the birth of Jesus:

Luke 2: 1-14

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus
that the whole world should be enrolled.
This was the first enrollment,
when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.
And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth
to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem,
because he was of the house and family of David,
to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
While they were there,
the time came for her to have her child,
and she gave birth to her firstborn son.
She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields
and keeping the night watch over their flock.
The angel of the Lord appeared to them
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were struck with great fear.
The angel said to them,
"Do not be afraid;
for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.
For today in the city of David
a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.
And this will be a sign for you:
you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes
and lying in a manger."
And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel,
praising God and saying:
"Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Wishing you all the peace of the season, and if you celebrate Christmas, please have a joyous one.

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