“Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wisemen, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.” ~ Matthew 2:16-17
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” And for many, Christmas is just that. It’s like God gives the world a spiritual shot of heavenly novocaine which deadens us to the pain and nastiness of life for a short while.
A few Christmas Eve’s ago, backing out of a parking lot, I bumped into another car. To my dismay, I had left a softball size dent in the man’s rear panel. I hung my head and reached into my car to retrieve my insurance information. The man whom I hit looked at his car and said, “Friend, don’t worry about it. I have a buddy who can get that dent out in a jiffy. This is an old car. It happens. Merry Christmas.”
But for many, it’s hard to feel any of that joy. How many commercials celebrate the joy of family, but what do you do if your family is a hot mess, or you’re separated from your family, or tragedy has picked off friends and loved ones that you’ll never see again. Guess there’s no Christmas for you.
Christmas is all about giving and getting, we’re told. But what if you have nothing to give, because you have no job, no money, no health, no opportunity, no hope. Guess there’s no Christmas for you.
A recent study pinpointed Christmas Eve as the one day of the year where there are more heart-attacks than any other. Loneliness is rampant. Suicide hot-lines ring off the hook at Christmas. Sorrow and weariness which runs like a low-grade fever the rest of the year, becomes soul-crushing at Christmas.
But that’s when we have to return to the Christmas story. The real one. The one that’s in our Bible’s.
Right here in the heart of it we see a tyrant king, a Hitler of the 1st-century, bringing anguish to countless families who will never be the same again because of what they suffer. If you think the overall message of Christmas is that this world is so wonderful, so cheer up – you couldn’t be any more wrong.
No, this world is broken almost beyond comprehension. The reason the Christmas story gives me hope is because it shows me a God who sees full-well how bad this world is. And then he does something unexpected. He actually enters into this world to do something about it. No, he doesn’t just snap his fingers and rid the world of Herod (because then he would have to rid the world of me because I have a little Herod stomping about in my heart.)
The reason the Christmas story gives me hope is because it shows me a God who sees full-well how bad this world is.
God’s ridding the world of evil requires another way. A longer way. A more hidden way. But a way far more real, life-changing and world-changing than we could ever imagine.
So don’t despair. Or think you’re missing out on something. Dear one, it’s not yet Christmas. Give your life afresh over to Jesus right now, and you won’t miss out on a thing. There’s an amazing Christmas coming, just for you.
Bear Clifton is a pastor, writer and screenwriter. His blogs and devotionals can be enjoyed at his ministry website: trainyourselfministry.com and his writing website: blclifton.com. Bear is the author of “Train Yourself To Be Godly: A 40 Day Journey Toward Sexual Wholeness”, “Ben-Hur: The Odyssey”, and “A Sparrow Could Fall”, all available through Amazon.