13 Dec 2016
Christmas is a joyous time of the year; a time to remember the birth of the Savior; a time of good cheer; a time of being a little more loving and forgiving than usual. The coming celebration of Christ’s birth is just that—it’s a celebration. And so, it’s easy to forget that not everybody was excited when the little child Jesus was born all those years ago.
Herod wasn’t too happy about it. For him, the Star of Bethlehem was a star of judgment; it was God pointing his finger at Herod, bringing to light all of Herod’s sins. And so, Jesus (and John the Baptist) were not very comforting figures for Herod. That first Christmas wasn’t a time of celebration for everyone.
And, as we sit here in Advent and pray, “Come, Lord Jesus, come,” we’re praying for the Second Coming of Christ—we’re praying for the second Christmas to come; for the Star of Bethlehem to shine again in glory over our heads. But what will that star bring us? Comfort? Joy? Dread? Fear?
While the Lord is the epitome of mercy and kindness, he’s also the epitome of judgment and what it means to speak the truth. He never shied away from calling out the chief priests and elders, telling them to get their act together. He didn’t hesitate to call Peter “Satan” when Peter tried to stop Jesus from going to the Cross. And he doesn’t hesitate to speak the truth about ourselves to us. Jesus doesn’t hesitate to call it like he sees it.
And, as the one who has perfect vision, we trust that what he says is true; that his judgments are right. But since his judgments are meant to get us on the right track again, they’re a sign of his mercy and kindness. In his honest judgments, God is merciful.
And so, if we’re praying, “Come, Lord Jesus, come;” if that Star of Bethlehem begins to shine for us in our hearts and minds; if we feel Christ poking at our conscience, or moving us to maybe change our ways or our attitudes, then be glad! God’s judgments are never against us; they’re always for our benefit, for our salvation.
Thanks be to God for speaking the truth to us; we need it. We need that Light of Truth to set us on a good path, even when the Truth sometimes hurts.