How to Miss Christmas
Christmas is nearly here! Yet, I wonder how many of us might miss it entirely if we’re not careful. The New York Times has long been a source of the biggest events and news stories, and have been read more than any other news source since its founding in 1851. They’ve won 132 Pulitzer Prizes; more than any other news source in history, and yet, there have been times where they “missed it by that much.”
The NY Times missed being the first to report on the Watergate Scandal in 1972 simply because a reporter had gone out of town to report to Yale Law school the next day. The NY Times also failed to report first on the attack of Pearl Harbor in 1941 due to the Hawaii bureau chief being out walking his dog. The Times also missed reporting on the beginning of 20th Century (January 1, 1901), because an editor deemed the new Century “unimportant” and “faddish.”
I doubt many of us are intentionally planning on “missing” Christmas. Yet it may be far easier to do than we think. Take a moment to read Matthew 2:1-12, and you’ll see how one man, Herod, was so close to Christmas, and yet he missed it entirely in two key ways.
How to Miss Christmas:
- Focus on Building Your Own Kingdom (vs. 2-3)
Jesus Christ, the greatest gift ever given, was come to earth. Yet Herod was troubled. Jesus, the King of Kings was here, and yet to Herod saw Him only as a threat to his throne. Herod was more concerned with building his earthy kingdom than preparing his heart.
We might not be tempted with a throne or a crown, but how easy is it to get wrapped up in building up an earthly “kingdom” to ourselves of earthly possessions, new gifts, or temporary success.
Remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:19-21:
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
- Forget to Acknowledge Scripture (vs. 4-5)
Herod had access to the same prophecies and Scripture that the priests and scribes had access to — but he didn’t search or acknowledge them! Herod had access to the Word of God, yet he dismissed it. What should have caused great joy — that the promised Messiah had come and the prophecy was fulfilled — only caused Herod great trouble. Herod, the scribes, and the priests had all, no doubt, read the prophecies of Isaiah, Micah, and even the Messianic prophecy of Psalm 22.
In this busy Christmas season, what is our attitude towards the Word of God? Will we readily receive it, like Mary, Joseph, and the Shepherds? Or will we push it to the side, minimize it, and ignore it like Herod? Remember the instruction from James 1:22-25:
22. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 25. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
This Christmas season, let’s prioritize and focus on building God’s Kingdom, not our own! And let’s acknowledge and allow the Word of God to comfort, conform, and change our hearts more and more each day! Christmas is so close – I hope we won’t miss it!