Where the Spirit of Herod Pervades: Christmas is About Life in a Culture of Death

13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15 and remained there until the death of Herod.This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, 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. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
    weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
    she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”
(Matthew 2:13-18)

So many say that we are in the land of the living, but in all honesty we are in the land of the dying. The moment we are born, we move toward death—it’s inevitable, unpleasant to think about, but it’s honest.

We live in a time where many work in maternity wards to help bring life in to the world. We have hospitals that seek to heal life. We have assisted living places that by and large help during the more seasoned times of a life. This country especially has been amazing in taking care of the human body.

We also live in a culture of death as well. Homicide and suicide rates skyrocket; the abortion industry takes the lives of 1.3 million unborn children each year; and controversies over end-of-life, quality-of-life issues have a significant part of the cultural discourse. These among many other issues in regards to life.

There is nothing new under the sun.  The most  autocratic rulers come into power with the notion that they are able to determine which life has value and which doesn’t.  Such is the case with Herod.  Wise men from the east show up and ask, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?  For we saw his star when it rose and  have come to worship him” (Matthew 2:2).  Herod and the Jews were troubled.  Herod called the scholars to search the OT Scriptures to ascertain where he would be  born–and they knew the  answer:  Micah 5:2 said, “Bethlehem.”  Herod wanted to eliminate the competition, so he ordered the infanticide–one prophecied back in Jeremiah, about 600 years prior to this event.

Our culture has the spirit of Herod.  So often life is not valuable in an absolute, intrinsic sense–for so many, life is only valuable as long as our particular quality of life is what we believe it to be, or if that life is convenient to us and doesn’t interrupt our goals, desires, and yes rule over our lives.  Our fallen flesh believes that we are lord of all we survey, so no one should try to offer any competition.  

But our lives matter to God.  This is not how God created His world–He created life and sent His Son into this world to rescue life.  Life matters to Him.  God created us to bear His image in this world.  But the temptation, as first brought to light in Genesis 3, is that we “want to be like God, knowing good from evil.”  But we are not like God in that God is always holy and right in what he does.  We are creatures who are in need of rescue–fallen and sinful.  We are not wired to be kings.  We are wired to have a King.  

No king will do aside from Jesus!

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Categories: Christmas, pro-life, sermons | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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