Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled Joy, Joy, Joy

by Allan Erickson
December 4, 2010

Even though 90% of Americans celebrate Christmas, a tradition going back many centuries on this continent, the only tradition some people wish to establish is an attack on Christmas.  How strange that a celebration of joy, peace and love should be rejected by a tiny few. Then again, perhaps it isn’t so strange.

Everything is politicized these days: warring factions facing off in constant conflict, seeking domination.  Curious how no one forces anyone else to celebrate Christmas.  Even so, many unbelievers sense something special about Christmas, the joy and wonder of the season, but a small group claiming offense demands an end to all the symbols, songs, and celebration.

Joy for the believer comes from being reminded God so loved the world He showed up in person, a newborn baby in a stable, all to bring peace on earth, and to start the process that will culminate in the ultimate victory of good over evil, a return to paradise, a place where there is no more fear, pain, violence, sickness, poverty, sin or death.   That Hope is planted in every human heart.  Those who cherish that hope celebrate it this time of year, and seek to share the joy it brings, all good things, most would agree, but not for the Grinch or the Scrooge.

From the beginning 2,000 years ago the Christmas message of joy and hope was assaulted.  It has been brutally attacked ever since. This should come as no surprise, if one acknowledges the existence of the prince of darkness and his vast army of demons.  The enemy of your soul has no stomach for love, joy, hope or peace.  By any means, he will fight to prevent you from experiencing the bliss of love, joy and hope, stealing your peace.   A murderer from the beginning, he has always fought to kill Christ and his message.

Chapter 2 of the Book of Matthew recounts the conspiracy to murder the newborn King shortly after his birth. 

Herod, the puppet king appointed by the Romans, hears from the three wise men about Jesus, born in Bethlehem, exactly as prophesied 700 years before.  (Micah 5:2)  Knowing the prophecy and fearing a threat to his power base, Herod conspires to kill the newborn Christ. Feigning a desire to worship Christ he tells the wise men to send word once they locate the child.  Alerted by an angel the wise men do not return to inform Herod, going home by a different route.  An angel also warns Joseph in a dream.  He takes Mary and Jesus to Egypt to escape Herod’s sword.  Then, learning he has been deceived by the wise men, Herod sends his soldiers to Bethlehem to kill every male child two years of age and younger, thus fulfilling another prophesy, found in Jeremiah 31:15, uttered 600 years before the first Christmas:

A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted, because they were no more.*

And so it went, attack after attack against the One called the Way, the Truth, and the Life, all the way to the Cross, where He conquered death on our behalf, the ultimate act of love, for the joy set before Him. (Hebrews 12:2)  

The Father was well aware of the risks and dangers involved in the pursuit of love.  He knew creating man would subject him to the temptation of Lucifer made Satan.  He knew His good and perfect world would fall into sin and death.  The Father knew as well his Son would pay the ultimate price to redeem the world and those who would believe, thus establishing the law of love forever.  He was willing, and He accomplished all, starting with Christmas.

So Merry Christmas, and peace, to men of good will.  May our tradition of celebrating peace, love, joy and hope continue, despite Herod and all who come after him.

http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/wesleys-explanatory-notes/jeremiah/jeremiah-31.html
Used by permission, ©2010.

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