Tuesday, December 23, 2014

adventMatthew 2:13-18

This is a tragic and sad part of the Christmas story, isn’t it? It is sad to say that this is the reality of the evil world that we live in. God’s plan does still win, but the devil still keeps fighting, trying to do evil things. You may be experiencing this personally, as Christmas may not be as joyous for you as you think it should be. But we can take comfort in the understanding that the very first Christmas was not all joy and delight.

The wise men began the journey with excitement and expectation. By the time they made the long journey to Jerusalem, and then on to Bethlehem, Jesus was no longer a baby. He was most likely between one and two years old. After their visit with Herod, and they went on, expecting to inform Herod when they found the child. They had no idea of Herod’s plan.

Herod wanted to kill the baby, and God knew Herod’s plan. God warned Mary and Joseph to escape to Egypt, much like many missionaries have to escape from countries where they are telling the good news. They did escape and Jesus was saved. There is no doubt that God’s plan will always win out.

When Herod discovered that he had been tricked, he was very angry. In anger he ordered that all the boys living in the area of Bethlehem who were two years old and younger be killed. That’s the sad and tragic part of the story. Evil still happens in this world.

Beginning with Adam and Eve, God had allowed people to choose to disobey him. He showed Adam and Eve his love and gave them everything they could ever need. When they saw the tree they couldn’t have, though, and the devil deceived them, Adam and Eve thought, We will only be happy if we get that one more thing that we want. Even today every single person in the world tries to be happy by getting what he or she wants. Herod thought he would be happy when he killed the baby Jesus so he would be the king. Kids think they will be happy with that one toy. Adults think they will be happy with that one relationship.

God sent Jesus to earth to show us that the only way that we can truly find joy forever, even in the midst of sorrow, is when we have a relationship with God. Joy will not come when we choose to find our happiness in toys, people, money, jobs, or anything else other than Jesus. What are you doing to find joy? Confess your desires for lesser joys and seek God to satisfy all your needs.

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