You don’t see that part of the story in your normal Christmas pageant. But as I look at the battle in the world today between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan, Herod’s response to the birth of the Messiah cannot be ignored. We can’t shove the unpleasant out of Christmas because it’s sad, evil, or makes us uncomfortable, and for those who aren’t sure there’s such a thing as sin (or evil), this passage says, “think again.”
When I was younger, each Sunday of Advent we acted out parts of the Christmas story as a family (of only four–we played multiple roles). And fleeing from Bethlehem in the night was part of the story we replayed. It might seem too dramatic for children, but if we don’t introduce our children to the true battle of this world—that between the spiritual forces in the heavenly realms as Paul tells us—then we do them a disservice.
What happened in Bethlehem through Herod, wasn’t just borne from the jealousy of an earthly king. Satan wasted no time on fighting back. God snuck into the world, took on flesh in a covert operation known as Code Infant in a Manger, and the backlash was immediate. The threat on the kingdom of darkness was too much for its king.
“Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” (John 15:20)
The evil that turned on infant Jesus, that followed and opposed him his entire life, has subsequently been turned on his followers—an extension of him. We should not be surprised, and for that reason—because we battle not against flesh and blood—we should take to heart this lesser read portion of the Christmas story.
There is an Enemy, of this world and of our souls.
“The light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)
This is more than pretty poetry. This is truth from which to build your life upon. Truth to strengthen your ability to endure the struggles that wage against you as a result of your association with Jesus Christ.