23 Dec 2019

Herod is Dead, Hark the Herald

It looks like some creepy basement that belongs to a serial killer. Musty and dark and crumbling walls. A dirt floor. And in fact, it sort of was the basement of a serial killer.

And it’s not one of the more popular tourist attractions in Bethlehem.

The place that young Jewish boys were murdered after Herod learned of the Jews’ anticipation of the Messiah being born…is a stark place. It’s still there.

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. (Matthew 2:16)

I stood there several years ago and thought about the nights of terror Herod inflicted on mothers and fathers in the area.

But he couldn’t stop the King.

Scripture tells us the rest of that story. Jesus was born in a modest place, to a young mother. Her husband loved her and the baby boy and took care of them.

This is a story I love to think about, especially at Christmas. It is another story of God’s power and majesty, and the best reminder that the plans of evil men are literally no match for the Creator. He took those murdered children to Himself upon their deaths. He protected the tiny one that would save many. And God did this in an environment that seemed hopeless to many. Imagine Joseph’s thoughts as he took his family to a country that had had a problematic history for his people.

Christmas 2019 is in a few days. I know many of you, my dear readers/friends, are suffering this year. One of your children is wayward. You just lost your job and you are honestly scared about your finances. Your wife is seriously ill. Depression just won’t leave you alone. We all have issues.

Please focus then on that awesome power and majesty of God. Think about what He did 2,000 years ago. He focused on a tiny family that was vulnerable both to the Romans and to outlaws on the way. He kept them safe. Jesus then grew up strong and wise. He then went to His appointed moment and saved us all.

God can handle big and little things. At the same time. Innumerable things.

I ask you for one thing this Christmas season: on Christmas Eve, get away by yourself somewhere even for a few minutes. Seriously, it might be in the bathroom. Wherever you can be alone for a few minutes.

Tell Jesus your problems and tell Him your fears are swamping you. Then make a choice to believe His promises.

That brutal story that opens the book of Matthew? Later in the book, Jesus tells us (Matthew 11:28) that He wants to take our burdens from us. He will.

I know this for a fact. I know it personally. Exactly 10 years ago I was at the end of my rope with a problem I could not solve. It involved a family member. One night I told Jesus that I believed Matthew 11:28 and I said it like a child would…at my age!

He did what He said He would do.

This Christmas, let’s pray for each other. I wish for you and your family a blessed and joyous time. I hope that when you wake up on Christmas morning, you will feel truly refreshed and content.

Merry Christmas!