That’s it. It’s officially over. It’s time to go back to normalcy. I hereby decree that as of this past weekend “the Christmas season” has now officially ended. What started back in late November and stuck around through the early days of January, is over and done with as of this past weekend.
(fyi, in case you’re wondering, to me the official end of the Christmas season is whatever day we decide to take down our Christmas tree and decorations. That happened this past weekend. Therefore I decree that the Christmas season ended this past weekend. You see how that works?)
The festivities and celebrations of Christmas and New Year are done. Life is back to normal. It’s the middle of January. No sign of the holidays remains except for the few stragglers out there who still haven’t taken down their Christmas lights (not that anyone has noticed or anything). Other than that, it’s pretty much over.
But wait a minute, wasn’t there more to Christmas than just the lights and the presents? Wasn’t there something else we were celebrating and getting all excited about? Or rather, wasn’t there some-ONE else we were celebrating and getting excited about?
Oh yeah! I remember…BABY JESUS!
Remember Him? Christmas was when we celebrated His birth and arrival into our world to save us all from sin and deliver us from the power of the enemy. It was when we were so excited that the True Light – the Light of the world which shines brighter than any sun or moon or star – has come down into our dark dark world in order to free us from it and open the door for us to live with Him in heaven for eternity.
Oh yeah…now I remember. Whatever happened with Baby Jesus? Did anything happen after He was born?
Let’s go back to the very first Christmas and see what impact Jesus had back then.
“When they [the wise men] saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:10-11)
Rejoiced with exceedingly great joy… fell down and worshiped Him… presented Him gifts. What a great day! Sounds a lot like how we celebrated Christmas too. Rejoicing. Celebrating. Worshiping. Thanking God for His great gift and preparing to live a new life in the new year – a new life with Jesus.
But while they were still celebrating and preparing for this great new life with the Child Jesus, things take a turn for the worse.
“Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: “A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” (Matthew 2:16-18)
Wait a minute? What just happened? Jesus was born and all was good. He was coming to bring peace on earth and goodwill toward men. He was supposed to save us and deliver us from all this mess, right? So what happened?
Lost in the Christmas story and celebration is a troubling realization. And that is this: the very first thing that happened as a direct result of Jesus’ birth was the massacre of hundreds of thousands of innocent children, all under the age of 2.
You may need to read that again to let that sink in there.
A few weeks ago, our nation wept for the senseless killing of 26 innocent victims in Newtown, Connecticut. That was a tragedy of the worst kind. We wept for weeks because of that and it is going to a long time before we fully recover from that.
That was 26. How many were slain in Bethlehem after the birth of Christ? 144,000
144,000 moms and dads left crying and wondering “Why God, why? Why allow this to happen? Why would anyone do this? Why did this happen to us?”
And here’s the worst part. What’s the answer to “why is happening now?” What is the reason? Who/what started this ball rolling in the first place?
Answer? BABY JESUS.
It was His birth into the world that led to all this. If He didn’t come, none of this would have happened. He is the reason. Isn’t He???
That’s all I am going to write for today. I know I am leaving you hanging in the middle of the story. But that's often times how life is, isn't it? Everything doesn't always wrap up before the commercial break. Sometimes we're left to wonder and ask questions.
With that said, I will continue the story and talk more about it on Thursday, but I'll leave you to ponder on it for a couple of days. And here’s what I want to throw out for you to think about and discuss till then:
For discussion: have you ever felt like “my life was fine before Jesus came into it”? If so, how did you deal with it and how would you encourage others to deal with it as well?