Christmas: A Time for Peace (And a Time for War)
- Thursday, December 06, 2012
A cold chill has entered the air, decorations have started turning red, green and silver, bell-ringers are appearing in front of stores, a common music theme is being heard throughout and seasonal “fashion wear” (a.k.a. Christmas sweaters) are starting to reappear for the annual migration out of moth balls.
This near-worldwide transformation signals one thing - the start of one of the toughest “seasons” of a single person’s year, that being the Christmas holidays (another seems to be “wedding season”).
When I look back over the decades of Christmases and years as a single, there have been many memorable and meaningful times, more blessings than I could ever expect or imagine. Yet, as the years pass, the frequency of periods of solitude and loneliness seem to increase.
With another Christmas approaching, I have to be careful not to allow myself to slip into a “Woe is me, look at what everyone else is doing” mentality and give into the temptation of believing the lies of the enemy.
Aside from the glitter, pleasantries among strangers, gift exchanges and true meaning of the season, this time of year is not just a battle for us to live as singles, but I am reminded by events surrounding us there is a larger, more intense war going on which started thousands of years ago concerning this same event we celebrate today.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
That first Christmas marked the beginning of two distinct factions battling for the life and soul of each person that followed.
Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him" (Matthew 2:1-2).
Depending upon the cultural background a person originates, there seems to be some disagreement over the exact names and origin of the “Magi.” Nevertheless, what is commonly accepted is the Magi were kings, or at least royalty, who came to worship and present symbolic gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense to the newborn King.
At the same time, the enemy had plans to circumvent the situation by eliminating the baby Jesus.
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born…. “For Herod is going to search for the child to kill him” (Matthew 2:3-13).
Having been warned in a dream of King Herod’s intent, the Magi returned to their countries by a different route. Since they did not disclose Jesus’ exact location, Herod had all of the boys less than two years of age in Bethlehem and its vicinity to be killed (Matthew 2).
Although this familiar event occurred thousands of years ago, hostility towards Jesus, His birth and all He represents can still be felt across our nation in real and tangible ways, especially during this time we celebrate.
I have wanted to believe in a Christmas where the world, or at least the country, would come together in a universal and unified manner to not only rejoice over the birth of Jesus, but also spread a compassionate, generous and positive message of the Good News. However as much as I’d like to have faith in “Peace on Earth,” I don’t have to look very far to see we are reaching a point which is anything but that.
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