Have you ever thought about the fact that there are two kinds of people.
One group is drawn towards and the other drawn away from the Saviour Jesus Christ, whose birth the whole of Christendom is supposed to be celebrating this Christmas.
As the news of the birth of Christ was being announced, shepherds watching their flock by night and wise men from the East following the stars were drawn towards the place where Christ was to be born. Yet, when King Herod heard these things, he was deeply troubled and all Jerusalem with him (Mathew 2: 1-17)
He met with the high priests and scribes of the people and demanded them to tell him where Christ would be born. His motive was not good at all, but full of envy, jealousy and thoughts of murder. He even enquired of the wise men where and what time the star announcing the birth of Jesus would appear. He asked them to bring word back to him when they have found him, so that he could come and worship him too.
This was in fact a very sneaky and conniving ulterior motive to destroy the Christ child, said to have been born a king. Herod was part of that scheming tactic of the Devil who from the very foundation of time has always been against anything to do with the divine saving and redeeming plans of Almighty God for all of mankind.
As I mentioned in a previous article, Jesus left no word or scripture indicating that his birth should be celebrated, but definitely that his death should be remembered through Holy Communion and foot-washing.
We therefore see the Devil capitalise on every Christmas celebration as another tool to deviate and destroy true worship in acknowledgement of the Saviour of the Bible by glamorous secularised worldly acclaim rather than in spirit and in truth.
A vivid example and stern warning against such worldly colorful counterfeit form of celebration is stated in Jeremiah 10: 2-5, “…learn (follow) not the way of the heathen…for the customs of the people are vain: for they cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not, cannot go (walk)”.
Planting Christmas trees is big business in some countries, and the practice of raising natural trees seems to have been taken over by artificial ones packed in boxes that customers buy off the shop shelf, unpack and assemble, then repack and put away for the next season. Such is the deceiving spirit of commercialisation as it applies to Christmas.
Jesus clearly states in John 4: 22,23, “But the hour cometh, and now is when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth”.
God has always warned and rebuked his people, Israel for bringing false, empty praises, offerings and sacrifices before him while their mouths and hearts are far from his standard of holiness and sanctification.
The Christmas season is, no doubt, a good time for families and people to come together for a little fun time and fellowship. It is when it is drawn away from the real and true saving Messiah that it throws the real meaning of it over the deep end.
Secularism, I must add, is one of the most dangerous and damaging Herodian spirits. It keeps destroying the saving grace and redeeming love of our one and only Saviour Jesus Christ during the Christmas season. Common problems that inevitably arise at Christmas time include alcohol and drug abuse, sexual immorality, outbreaks of domestic violence, brawls, general lawlessness and disorderliness at public entertainment venues.
If we are honest, as professed Christians, are we drawn more to the Saving Grace in Christ Jesus or are we part of the army of Herod, out to kill, destroy and assist Satan in eradicating and uprooting pure Bible Christianity?
God bless, protect, preserve, maintain holiness and godliness for you and I this festive season throughout our paradise Cook Islands.
Kia Orana e kia Manuia rava no te Kiritimiti e te Mataiti Ou.
Bishop Tutai Pere.