The thirteen year-old was me, and I wrote this for the Palm Beach Day School’s student newspaper the Portfolio Flyer, Volume II Issue X dated 18 December 1968:
1,972 years in the past, in a little Israeli town called Bethlehem, probably one of the most important events in the history of the world occurred. Mary and Joseph had inquired of the local innkeeper as to the number of rooms for rent. Unfortunately, there were no rooms. They went to the outskirts of the town and found a manger. There, Mary had a baby whom she named Jesus.
Jesus grew up in Nazareth. He preached his message of love and compassion to all his fellow men. But the existing status quo disliked his preaching so they nailed him to the cross.
Today, many people disregard his teachings as obsolete and out of date. This thesis is incorrect. For the teachings of the Lord were not meant for about 1500 years, but for all eternity.
There’s a lot to unpack with this, but probably the biggest lacuna is the lack of any reference to the resurrection. Some of that is due to space limitations: the Flyer was packed, that’s all the space I got, probably had to cut it down considerably. But another reason was that, either in spite of the fact that I was raised at Bethesda or because of it, I was unclear as to the bodily resurrection of Jesus. That would have to wait 3 1/2 years until I read Augustine’s City of God, and by then I was on my way to a Tiber swim.
Really, though, the fact that Our Lord bucked the “existing status quo” was a strong reason for me to follow him, and that’s something that hasn’t changed.