WHAT HEROD MISSED AT CHRISTMAS!

18 12 2017

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The Judean Province where Jesus was born actually lay beneath a double curse. Their primary burden was the fact that the Romans dominated the Israelites in just about every area of their lives. Another dark and looming shadow over the Hebrews was cast by King Herod himself who wore his title as King of the Jews as permission to be a tyrant and maniacal dictator. And for all the power that Herod pretended to wield, he was one insecure individual. If Herod didn’t like you, there was a huge reason to believe that your days on earth would be numbered. He had a habit of assassinating anyone and everyone who even hinted at disloyalty. The man killed off his own Wives and Kids as often as you and I might change socks.

 King Herod was never going to be held in high esteem amongst his subjects. As the time approached for the Birth of Jesus, Herod was literally in his final days this side of the grave. He was a cantankerous old man who immersed himself in pain and bitterness, almost all of it caused by him. As an obscure Peasant named Joseph and his very pregnant wife named Mary embarked upon that little town of Bethlehem just in time for the census, Herod was consumed by thoughts of death. Ironically this was all happening at just the time when God was sending his Son into the world to conquer the darkness for good.

 It was also during these days of personal decline that Herod was thrown for a loop by a band of traveling magicians who were chasing a star in the east! It forced him to face the facts that his reign of terror was not going to last forever. Herod was not a religious man and had no idea of God’s promises about the coming Messiah and the prophecy that foretold his birth to occur in the City of David. As he gathered the missing pieces of this puzzle, his misery was increasing by the minute. If you thought Ebeneezer Scrooge was no picnic in the park, then trying to function under Herod would have shanghaied any remaining substance of sanity.         

 Meanwhile, just a short walk down the road, a real Monarch was being crowned. The King of kings and Lord of lords occupied the humble throne of an animal trough. His legacy would include providing the light that would open the door to everlasting life. And while Herod was guilty of shedding plenty of innocent blood, it would be the ultimate sacrifice made on our behalf by the perfect Lamb of God offered freely to every man and woman which would  purchase the pardon that all of us desperately need. And while the reign of Herod would soon go bust as it decayed into a pile of dust, the Savior Jesus would rule forever.  

 Herod thought he could beat the Almighty God in a daily game of tug of war but oh how wrong he turned out to be. Herod couldn’t even convince the Magi to do his bidding. Heaven eventually always trumps the laws of the land. The Wise Men yielded to the Lord’s directions and went home a different path as transformed individuals. Isn’t it the same today? Any of us who have ever by grace through faith received the Lord Jesus Christ know by experience that nobody ever leaves the Lord in the same manner they came. And anybody with any sense of decency understands that you can’t harvest infinity from finite means.    

Did you know that Herod’s name actually means “heroic,” but there was nothing valiant about him? Herod lived in constant fear that he was about to lose what he could never grasp and when his time came to exit, he certainly expired in vain.

 Fear makes people do crazy things. And while the governments of mankind attempt to set up rules and regulations, it can’t make you do anything that you don’t want to do. Power can’t bully anyone to love! Only God can transform the hearts of people and that is exactly what Jesus came to do when he moved into our neighborhood that first Christmas.

 What will you do with the real light of Christmas? The greatest heroes are the one’s who are willing to abandon it all and answer the call and follow Jesus. Herod saw Christmas as nothing more than just another threat that he tried to thwart. God means Christmas to be a holy gift and that is a present we can’t leave under the tree unopened. Don’t compete with the Father and end up with nothing more than an empty soul like Herod. Let the love of Noel complete you and give you keen insight into what we should be doing with our day. Pride will assure you of nothing more than a fatal fall. Worshiping the Christ of Christmas will open the door to way more than one magical day in December. Let Jesus be born in you and give God room to redecorate your heart for good. Merry Christmas and let nothing stop you from celebrating all that matters most!       


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