Summary: A mini-sermon i shared on a Sunday night after a last minute change of plans, plenty of room for expanding and improvement.
How to miss Christmas
Intro: Ask for important figures relevant to the Christmas story (write down responses)
We forget a prominent figure in the birth of Christ was Herod.
In fact they dynasty began by Herod the Great covers 4 generations of rule in Israel and we are witness to 4 generations in the NT alone.
Herod the Great, who we read about here, ruled from about 47BC to 4AD, and he was nearing the end of his life at this point in Scripture.
His father attached himself to Julius Ceasar’s party to become a Roman citizen and become appointed procurator (or ruler) over Judea.
Herod and his brothers were given government roles but a sibling rivalry led to a decade of battles that eventually brought about Herod being named King over Judea by Rome.
Herod’s rule was know as being brutal and decisive, and he would go as far as punishing or executing his enemies while rewarding his friends.
Yet even with all the power he was able to wield his self-control and control of his family was slipping.
He had married 10 wives and had numerous sons and while they schemed to get their father’s throne their mothers hatched the plots and counterplots.
This led to Herod becoming more and more suspicious and paranoid, going as far as torturing his son’s friends to discover any plots against him.
The old adage of “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” was true here because Herod’s own reputation was that of a plotter and deceiver who would resort to murder if necessary…he was now seeing this in his own family.
Now at about the age of 70 and deathly ill Herod hears about a group of wise men from the area of Persia seeking to worship a newborn King of the Jews…his fears and lack of trust kicked back in.
We know the story, he tried to trick the wise men into going find the Christ child and report back to him the location so that “he could go and worship Him also”…when in fact he wanted to kill the Christ child.
Tonight, looking at Herod from this passage I want us to consider 3 possible ways we too can miss Christmas, just like Herod missed it.
First of all…
1. Troubles, vs. 3
Can’t get past the economy right now.
Every where you turn, you hear something about how much we have and more about how much we don’t have.
We get so concerned about being in the red that it makes us green from being sick…and those are the Christmas colors we should have.
Remember, the real meaning of Christmas is not in the gifts you can give, but in the gift that was given on the first Christmas.
I wrote a new beginning to a famous Christmas carol you may relate to:
‘Tis the season to be stressed out, fa la la la la, la la la la
Family’s here we may have to duke it out, fa la la la la la, la la la la la
It is so easy to get stressed out with family at this time of year, or because of family.
I’m going to tattle a bit on us…Brigitte and I were about to need marital counseling yesterday because of cleaning the house in preparation for my dad and her parents visiting.
In fact, I was worried about eating or drinking anything, wondering if she put anything in my food.
Not just that, but you also have to deal with family members at time that…let’s be honest, you have to deal with, not choose to deal with.
There usually is that one (or more) person you are related too that makes you wonder if you were really adopted.
Family is an important part of the holidays, so try not to let the troubles of family cause you to miss Christmas.
5 keys I found from the Families.com website in an article called, “Coping with Christmas and Family Gatherings”
1. Take a leaf from the magazines and be prepared. Make lists of both food and gifts, well before Christmas and purchase what you need as early as possible. Often, stressful situations are exacerbated by tiredness and irritability.
2. Look after yourself physically in the lead up to Christmas. Eat sensibly, get plenty of sleep, and make sure to exercise regularly, even if it’s just a 10 minute walk each day. Make this a commitment to your own personal happiness - a Christmas gift to yourself, if you like.
3. Plan something pleasurable to do on the day after Christmas. This may be as simple as watching a movie you haven’t had time to see, or catching up with a friend you want to see. The thought of this "reward" can sustain you through whatever the relatives may deliver (as opposed to Santa).