Summary: Consider what it means to keep Christ at the forefront of your Christmas.
When you see the word “XMAS”, what do you notice to be missing? Obviously the word “Christ” is missing. For some, this is more than an oversight. There are some in our society who prefer to leave Christ out of Christmas.
Jeremiah Films has done a compilation of news stories concerning this subject. Consider a few of the articles they referenced on their web site.
“Christmas Music Outlawed In Jersey School District”
“Goldman Sachs Cancels Christmas”
“Dundee Council drops Christmas”
“Ohio City’s Christmas Parade Canceled Amid Legal Concerns, Protests”
“AFA is calling for a limited two-month boycott of Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic, the three stores owned by San Francisco-based Gap Inc., over the company’s censorship of the word "Christmas."
“Out with Jesus, in with ’Frosty the Snowman’ Federal court upholds school district’s ban on tunes about Christ”
(Taken from www.jeremiahfilms.com)
This is just a few of the news stories that have been printed in recent years concerning the controversy of removing Christ from Christmas.
It is easy for us to throw stones at those who would remove Christ from Christmas and accuse them of being liberal or cruel. There are three groups that leave Christ out of Christ. There are the liberals or those who feel animosity toward Christ. There are also those who neglect him. Finally, there are those who do not make time for Him. That shoe may fit many of us. You and I may be like the lady who went Christmas shopping and left Christ out. This mother was running furiously from store to store. Suddenly she became aware that the pudgy little hand of her three year old son was no longer clutched in hers. In a panic she retraced her steps and found him standing with his little nose pressed flatly against a frosty window. He was gazing at a manger scene. Hearing his mother’s near hysterical call, he turned and shouted with innocent glee: "look mommy! it’s baby Jesus in the hay". With obvious indifference to his joy and wonder, she impatiently jerked him away saying, "we don’t have time for that!" SOURCE: From "THE WONDER OF CHRISTMAS" by Glenn Pease. http://www.intohisword.net/luke/luke17. shtml
(Contributed to Sermon Central by SermonCentral PRO)
With these thoughts in mind I want to move to our text. For a text we are going to examine Mt. 2:1-15 for the next three weeks. There are three primary character groups in this text. There was Herod. There were the wise men. There were Jesus’ parents. Herod wanted to keep Christ from growing into manhood. Had he had his way the memory of Christ would have been removed from history. The wise men, Joseph and Mary sought to protect and preserve the baby Jesus. They kept Him at the forefront of their lives.
Herod was the original Scrooge. He had a hum-bug attitude. He wanted to abolish Christ. Before we get to our text I want to make a few distinctions regarding the name Herod. Herod was not the name of just one man. It was not a first name. Herod was a family name. As such you find the name Herod used on several occasions in the gospels. In fact, there are four Herod’s mentioned in the gospels. The first Herod we meet in the gospels is Herod the Great. He is the Herod of our text and the father of the other three Herod’s. A second Herod is mentioned in Mt. 2:22. This is Herod Archaelaus. He reigned over ½ of his father’s kingdom. A third Herod is Herod Antipas. This is the Herod that Jesus called the fox and the man who beheaded John the Baptist. He is mentioned more than any of the Herod’s in the gospels. A fourth Herod is Herod Philip, tetrarch of Iturea. He was the better of the four Herod’s. Whenever you read the gospels and run across the name Herod, remember there were four of them.
Now, to our text. “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” 3When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 6‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’’’ 7Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” 9When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.” (Mt. 2:1-12)