O Holy Night
From time to time, I like to write the Christmas Week column in a more personal way, talking to you as if we were face-to-face. This holy time in our lives—commemorating the birth of our magnificent Savior—is intensely personal for all of us that believe.
This week, Israel continued to prosecute a war forced on them by Hamas. One very interesting note is that Egypt reported that ceasefire talks were rejected in Cairo by one Isma’il Haniyeh, one of the very senior leaders of the demon terrorist group. My question is this: why is Egypt allowing him to move around freely? Why was he allowed to leave the country? He is on Israel’s “Dead Men Walking” list.
Elsewhere, the IDF is eliminating serious Hamas infrastructure in the neighborhoods of Daraj and Tufah to the north of Shejaiya. In Gaza City, the IDF took control of the “senior Hamas terrorist quarter,” exposing tunnels used by the Hamas leadership. In Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, IDF forces raided the homes of senior Hamas terrorists and exposed an extensive underground infrastructure.
All the while, withering international pressure—the equivalent of a battlefield advantage for Hamas—hampers Israel’s efforts.
To date, it is thought that Israel has destroyed 500 miles of the 800-mile tunnel network.
According to an IDF spokesman:
“IDF forces completed the takeover of the ‘senior Hamas terrorist quarter’ surrounding Palestine Square in the Rimal neighborhood in the center of Gaza City, the area where Hamas’ governmental and military-terrorist leadership conducted its activity. The forces found a branching network of tunnels which connected apartments used as hideouts, offices and residences of senior Hamas political and military terrorists. Food, water and electricity facilities were found at some of the sites, allowing for a prolonged underground stay. Nearby, a workshop for digging and constructing tunnels was found, containing [pre-cast] concrete walls and arches. Large quantities of weapons and technological equipment were also found at the site.”
I am not digressing. The point is that serious things are happening in the realm of Israel’s security. Things that have a direct impact on the immediate future. This is a war unlike any other Israel has fought. Those of us that love the Jewish people feel somewhat helpless as we watch.
I have a sense that as evil and danger heat up, the Lord is also flexing His infinite muscles. From our perspective, things are scary. From His perspective (as best as I can make out), God is simply continuing with His plan. He isn’t anxious or stressed. He isn’t in danger of losing, either.
Our role now, especially at this Christmas season, is to pray a lot. Praying provides perfect internal peace, by the way. It can calm you. By doing this, we are also acknowledging that God is truly all-powerful, and by placing all our trust in Him alone, we achieve balance.
I have been thinking about a lot of things this week. I hear from a lot of people that are scared financially. It is a real challenge to juggle what we can call “Biden Bills,” expenses that are skyrocketing due to purposeful sabotage of our economy. Christmas is going to be lean for a lot of people. I am praying specifically for people under financial strain. If you are, I am with you in spirit.
Overall, people are anxious about a society that seems to be unraveling. Irrational decisions, perspectives, and agendas are spooking most of us. Is the government really hatching a plan to blunt the sun’s rays so as to “help” a thing called “global warming”? How can our young people, including ones in our families, seriously believe in more than one gender, or that men can get pregnant? It makes our concerns of 50 years ago look quaint and borderline comical. I live in a small town, and I can think of two families off the top of my head that have a total of three daughters. Each daughter has “married” another girl.
Last week, I saw a social media post of a group of people somewhere in the U.S., at an outdoor gathering, picnics, etc. All of a sudden, a group of men descended from the skies via parachutes. Those on the ground wondered if this was a Hamas-style attack, as the one that happened October 7 in Gaza. It wasn’t, of course, merely a group of paragliders enjoying their own day. But before the bizarro time we’re living in, no one would worry about such a thing; it only existed in movie plots. Now the movies are writing themselves, in the real world.
My point in all this is, this week of all weeks we should get and keep the right perspective. In Bethlehem, 2,000 years ago, Jesus was born. Full divine and fully human, He came to Earth, voluntarily. As believers, we know that He was and is the promised Redeemer, the Messiah.
But it is fascinating that, in the midst of a Roman bootheel in the land, Jesus came as a baby. Vulnerable physically, it would be years before He was older and could fend for himself, so to speak, as we all become. God could have done all this in a different way, but how better to show His power and majesty than the way He did it.
He was signaling to all of us that no matter how bad things get, and no matter how strong evil might seem to be, no one—no one—can take us out of His hand.
Israel seems to be in peril. Individuals around the world seem to be in trouble.
But here is where we exercise our faith. Rely on it. Lash ourselves to it.
My prayer for you this Christmas weekend is that whatever you are dealing with, you will find peace through prayer to our Heavenly Father. He sent His Son to us to reconcile us to Him through the Gospel. I’ve been to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and I’ve been to the room where traditions says the children were murdered according to orders by Herod, who sought to “eliminate his competition” for a throne by killing any boy that might fit the criteria for the Messiah. In those places, even where death was, God’s power is palpable. The birth story is true. Jesus and His earthly ministry are true. He is the power unto salvation. He loves you, knows everything about you, and promised in Matthew 11:28 that if you call on His Name, He will come to you and comfort you.
This Christmas, you might be alone. You might be in a chaotic environment. Or maybe everything seems great outwardly but no one knows what you’re dealing with. But you know. Tell Jesus that on this night, you need Him. The Gospel is this: you believe God sent Him to earth, he died for our sins on the cross and was raised from the dead after three days in the grave.
My prayer for you is that this weekend, on Christmas Eve, you can find some time to get away and get peaceful. Maybe you can look at your lit tree, or if you live where it’s snowing, watch out the window. Tell Jesus everything that’s on your heart. Thank Him for coming to us all those years ago, that you believe Him, and that you need Him.
Merry, Merry Christmas to you.
And let me know how your Christmas unfolded.