Thinking About Christmas
It’s December and the Christmas season is in full bloom. I love Christmas, the music, the decorations, giving and getting presents! I especially love the Christmas story. There’s so much to it and it’s a great story.
One of the things that makes the Christmas story interesting is the characters who are part of it. This year I’ve decided to take a look at each of the characters in the Christmas story. In addition to the main characters Jesus, Mary and Joseph there are many minor characters. For the next few blog posts we’re going to look at them in the order they appear in the Christmas story.
The Role King Herod Has In The Christmas Story
The Christmas story doesn’t begin with Jesus. It begins with the story of Jesus’ cousin John the Baptist. We’ll talk more about him in a few days. Luke sets the historical context of John’s story by saying “In the days of Herod, King of Judea” Luke 1:5. The first person in the Christmas story is the unlikely and unlikable King Herod.
King Herod, a descendant of Esau, wasn’t a Jew by birth although his family converted to Judaism before he was born. He was a master politician. After his father died he secured an appointment from Rome to be the ruler of Judea in his father’s place. It was the Romans who gave him the title King of Judea. He held that position from approximately 37 BC to 4 BC. Much has been written about his accomplishments and his cruel and vindictive dealings with his family.
The next time in the Christmas story King Herod is mentioned is when the wise men arrive Matthew 2:1-23. Their search to find the one born to be the king of the Jews led them to King Herod. He learned from them when the boy was born. It was some time in the previous two years. Then with the help of the chief priests and scribes he determined Bethlehem was where the Bible said the king would be born. He told the wise men and directed them to return and tell him when they found the child. When they didn’t return he was furious. He attempted to eliminate this threat to his throne by having all the boys in Bethlehem under two years old killed. Joseph was warned by an angel that Herod would do this and safely escaped to Egypt with Mary and Jesus.
Some Thoughts About King Herod and Christmas
- Jesus became a man out of love for a world that didn’t want Him. Nothing has changed with Jesus or the world.
- No human leader, no matter how powerful, can thwart the plan of God.
- Like Joseph and Mary, whatever the task God has called you to do, no matter how wonderful, will involve hardship.
Please pray each day of this Christmas season for someone in your life who is far from God. Pray that God would show that person how much He loves them and wants to have a relationship with them through Jesus!
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