Tears are falling, hearts are breaking, How we need to hear from God
You’ve been promised, we’ve been waiting, Welcome Holy Child, Welcome Holy Child
– Welcome To Our World by Chris Rice
The world seems a bit darker this Christmas. Evil has struck another blow. Presents wait under trees for children who won’t be there to unwrap them Christmas morning. In some homes, the children will be there, but Mom or Dad won’t. As I reflect on recent events and their importance in the context of the Christmas season, I’m struck with two thoughts.
As I said, evil is still active in this world. Though many are seemingly shocked at this truth, I am not. In the history of the world, evil has not been absent. Calling it by a gentler name simply aids the evil one in doing his work. The world into which Christ was born was as frightening as ours, if not dreadfully more so. We have sanitized the story of Christmas to be a story of a cute little baby with some adorable Disney-like animals in a barn. When you imagine the Nativity, you can almost hear the animals talking, can’t you? But the birth of this cute little baby struck fear into the heart of the king, Herod. He had heard that this baby would grow up to challenge his authority and he felt threatened. So, he ordered genocide.
“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…” – Matthew 2:16
That is the world into which God sent his son. And that is the importance of Christmas. Gifts under a tree, a jolly guy in a red suit, and a bunch of reindeer might be fun, but they don’t have a thing to do with what God was doing at the first Christmas. God Himself was coming into the world He created to save the people He created from hell. And how did they respond? A few brought gifts. A few worshiped. A few followed. The rest saw him indifferently or as a threat.
God does that sometimes. He threatens our neatly organized world. He invades a people who have no idea they are dying to bring them life. He breathes life into dead things. Only, it doesn’t look like life to the ones who are content with death. It feels threatening.
Is God threatening your world this Christmas?