Day One: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

Herod, when he realized that the scholars had tricked him, flew into a rage. He commanded the murder of every little boy two years old and under who lived in Bethlehem and its surrounding hills. (He determined that age from information he’d gotten from the scholars.) That’s when Jeremiah’s sermon was fulfilled: A sound was heard in Ramah, weeping and much lament. Rachel weeping for her children, Rachel refusing all solace, Her children gone, dead and buried. (Matthew 2.16-18 MSG)

Where are the kids jingle belling, marshmallows toasting and holiday cheer? Isn’t Christmas supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year? Yet, the original Christmas event is riddled with intrigue, murder and survival. The powers of this world dispute the authority of God’s only Son. The rulers of this world assault the Savior sent by God. The privileged of this world deride the humble King of kings. Humanity’s resistance of God’s plan of salvation results in catastrophe – what could have been a silent, holy night has become a night of wailing and terror.

But to the destitute, the unvalued, the waiting – this is God making good on His ancient promise… His promise to send “a New King; a Rescuing King; a Forever King!” (A. Mitchell, “The Christmas Promise”) Finally! This is how our mourning transforms into dancing and shouts of joy! (Psalm 30.11). Instead of meeting God with dissension and resistance… we can gladly welcome and celebrate this “good news of great joy for all people”! (Luke 2:10).

Let’s pray: Heavenly Father, we rejoice in your salvation! While some may look at Jesus with misgivings or cynicism, we welcome Him with childlike wonder and joy!

Let’s sing and worship the Lord together. The Lord has come to us! ­— “Hearts Waiting (Joy to the World)” by Matt Redman

– JP