I love reading the Christmas story, especially at this time of year when we celebrate the astounding circumstances surrounding the birth of Israel’s Messiah (not to mention the Saviour of the whole world).
For a huge seasonal blessing, please watch “Christmas with the Chosen”. It’s in theatres, but it’s also on YouTube. Bracketed by talented musicians, never will you view a more sensitive interpersonal portrayal of one afternoon and evening in Bethlehem.
Every year I try to read Matthew’s and Luke’s accounts of the Christmas story during Advent. Every year something fresh and new jumps out at me.
In 2019’s “Every Knee Should Bend”, I was attracted to the explosive and far-reaching impact of the Saviour’s humble birth.
This year, my interest has been drawn to a behind-the-scenes drama, likely staged in 4 B.C at Herod the Great’s Judean palace, just 5 kilometres south of Bethlehem. We find it in chapter 2 of Matthew’s gospel, encapsulated in just two verses.
“Then Herod called the Magi secretly and ascertained from them the time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and inquire carefully for the child. When you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.’Matthew 2:7-8
Yeah, right. Can’t you just imagine one of the Magi muttering, “Liar, liar, pants on fire”?
While I find some twisted humour in the scene, there’s nothing funny about what happened next, necessitating the young family of three to flee for their lives to Egypt.
Herod, in his anger, and realising his lie had been discerned by the Magi, ordered all the baby boys in the vicinity of Bethlehem, be murdered.
Some of you might be thinking, not a lot has changed in 2,025 years.
Little did Herod know he’d joined the original cast of the Christmas story — a bit part in God’s perfect plan of redemption for His beloved humanity. There was nothing the politically-powerful and self-absorbed Herod could do to alter the course of redemptive history. God’s plan was well in motion.
Lord of Life
“In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it … The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (John 1: 4-5, 14a)
May your Christmas this year be just a little more meaningful given a clearer view of the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.
Blessings on your home,