Friday, December 17, 2010

2010 Person of the Year

He is the second youngest to ever receive the prestigious award. And although his name and face may be relatively hidden, his product is the exact opposite. It is seen by a staggering percentage of the world’s population. He is Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of the monster social-networking site Facebook.

For those still unaware, or uninterested, Wikipedia describes the world-changing software like this: “Facebook: a social network service and website launched in February 2004 that is operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc.As of July 2010 Facebook has more than 500 million active users. Users may create a personal profile, add other users as friends and exchange messages, including automatic notifications when they update their profile. Additionally, users may join common interest user groups, organized by workplace, school, or college, or other characteristics. Facebook allows anyone who declares themselves to be at least 13-years old to become a registered user of the website. Membership was initially limited to Harvard students. But it then gradually added support for students at various other universities before opening to high school students, and, finally, to anyone aged 13 and over. A January 2009 study ranked Facebook as the most used social network by worldwide monthly active users.”

The person of the year is an interesting award to say the least. Also according to Wikipedia, “The Person of the Year (formerly Man of the Year) is an annual issue of the United States news magazine ‘Time’ that features a person, group, idea, place, or even a machine. The selection is credited to someone or something that, "for better or for worse, has done the most to influence the events of the year.” This means it has included not just good and bad people like a Ronald Reagan or Joseph Stalin who both won the distinction twice. Charles Lindbergh was the first winner in 1927.

Again, sometimes ‘Person of the Year’ comes in some rather odd areas. In 2006, the selection was simply a “You”. There have been other rather unique choices considering the name of the award. It sounds as through it should be a singular person - male or female. Other illustrations include the Endangered Earth in 1988, U.S. Scientists in 1960, American Women in 1975, and the computer in 1982.

Facebook has undoubtedly changed the landscape of the communications culture, at least in nations where computers are common and in the hands of the majority. Its impact has been mixed with both good and bad, as many huge world-changing ideas and products do. For example, it has given ‘real’ friends and family unlimited opportunities to stay in touch and share their lives in a unique and timely fashion.

It has also been used for some less than honorable purposes. It has been discovered that Facebook is assisting in the breakup of countless marriages when old girl and boy friends stumble onto, or intentionally seek out, those with whom they had romantic relationships earlier in their lives. Then there is the serious addition factor and the very real privacy and security concerns. Then, too, there is the easy exposure of young teens to mature and sometimes very inappropriate subject matter by so-called ‘friends’ – some of which they don’t even really know. So as far as Facebook is concerned, it could be said, there is the “good, the bad, and the ugly” all at once.

But in the minds of at least some, there is one name that is conspicuously missing from the ‘Person of the Year’ list. Some might bristle at the fact that Jesus Christ has never been included, even though there have been other religious leaders included over the years. But when all things are analyzed, the Son of God and Savior of mankind, is far beyond any single yearly award. He is alone the single greatest "Person of all history and eternity.” He is equally fully man and also fully God. As such, His impact is not only good, it is beyond all human finite comprehension as His contribution literally rescues the soul of man from the power and penalty of human sin. That is why he came to earth. Matthew 1:21 sums it up quickly and concisely. “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins." The writer Luke adds his weight on the same truth. “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:11-12)

"The Person, or People, Of the Year” may enjoy their slice of time in the limelight. And we are thankful for those people, and things, that have improved life in one way or another. But even these unique individuals, along with the billions of obscure names and unknown lives, will someday stand before their Creator. No earthly resume or accomplishments will count at all at that time. But hopefully, in that most sobering of all of life’s moments, they will have already come to personally know and trust by faith the “Person of The Ages”, “The Creator of The Universe”, “The Babe of Bethlehem”, and the “Savior of Sinners”. If so, they will be able to stand before God confidently knowing and claiming on the words of the apostle in 1 John 2:1-2.

“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

For these to who forgiveness of sin and redemption has become a reality, the blessed words of Christmas hymn, “Hark The Herald Angels Sing," has a special and miraculous meaning of the One who will save and protect them for all eternity:

Hail! The heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail! The Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die!
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Bill Breckenridge

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