William Easterly posted this on Aid Watch on Christmas Eve. The Aid Watch blog is a project of New York University’s Development Research Institute (DRI). William Easterly is a Professor of Economics at NYU and author of The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics and The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good.
Caesar Augustus was the greatest Emperor of the greatest Empire. He could force the whole population to move back to their ancestors’ villages just to pay their taxes. Herod was governor of Judea, a backward province that Caesar likely paid little or no attention. Herod could order a massacre of all children under the age of two in Bethlehem, without having to appear before the International Criminal Court.
Yet history would later show that the most powerful person in the world that night was a newborn infant, conceived out of wedlock to a peasant girl, born in a manger.
Is this story of any interest to non-Christians? Is it historically accurate? I don’t know, but I think it’s a great story. It’s a story of transformative power that comes not from the Palace up above, but from the Manger down below.
Not to mention that the power from the manger is from God far above the palace.
Of course, being an NYU site, there were any number of intellectual humbugs picking up on the historical accuracy. Let me echo what Easterly said. It’s a great story of transformative power.