Christmas Message 6: The First Christmas and the Man Who Tried To Stop It.
If you haven’t realized it yet, there is a real war raging over Christmas. Many retailers have instructed their employees to no longer say, "Merry Christmas," but to say, "Seasons Greetings" or "Happy Holidays" instead. This is also going on in the public schools and other places. Some school districts in Florida and New Jersey have prohibited the singing of Christmas carols altogether. A few years back in our state of Texas of all places, a school confiscated one child's gifts for classmates, which were pencils with the inscription, "Jesus is the reason for the season." A Wisconsin elementary school actually changed the lyrics for "Silent Night" to a secularized version, "Cold in the Night." Attempts to create a politically correct version of Christmas are going on all over America and i for one am sick of it. If Christmas offends Atheist, Muslims and others, so be it. This is America and our nation has always been Christian.
For a long time now, certain people have tried their best to stop Christmas. In fact, there was a man who tried to stop the first Christmas, and he wasn't a fictional character like the Grinch or Ebeneezer Scrooge. He is known as Herod the Great. Herod was born into a political family, and at the age of 25, he was named the governor of Galilee which was a very high-ranking position for such a young man. The Romans were hoping that Herod would somehow be able to control the Jews who lived in that area. And in 40 B.C., the Roman Senate gave Herod the title of "king of the Jews." This was a title the Jews especially hated, because Herod was not a religious man. He was not a devout man. He had no regard for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or for the Jewish people. But he loved that title because it spoke of power.
When it came time for Jesus to be born, Herod's life was coming to an end. The so-called king of the Jews was slowly dying of a disease, and he was rapidly losing his mind. Herod had been successful in fighting off all attempts to take his power away when some mysterious visitors from the east came to town asking some strange questions. What really pushed Herod’s button was when they said they were looking for the one who was born the king of the Jews. That was Herod's title, but he certainly wasn't born the king of the Jews. These wise men had followed a star, God no doubt was directing them. You know the story how Herod tried to trick the Wise men to come back and tell him when they found the New Born King. But the Wise men were warned in a dream not to go back and tell Herod.
Herod tried to stop Christmas, and more to the point, he tried to stop Christ. But even with all of his wealth and power and influence, he came to ruin. And just like Herod, there are people today who oppose Christmas. They don't want us to say, "Merry Christmas." They don't want us to say that Jesus is the reason for the season. They don't want us to sing our Christmas carols. They don't want us to post the Ten Commandments in our classrooms or have prayers in public places. They don't want any freedom of expression in our culture. They want to impose their values. Or lack of values on us. There are people today who oppose everything about God or about Jesus Christ. And that is what Herod did. He was a man who fought against God and ended up destroying himself. People today who try to stop Christ and Christmas will have the same ending as Herod. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND GOD BLESS!