King Herod in the gospel narrative sought to disguise his murderous intent to kill the newborn rival to his throne by imposing on the wise men as a would be worshipper.
Satan, who was the prompter of this desire, still poses as a worshipper of Christ.
As long as Jesus remains the innocuous babe in the manger, he will put up decorations and bury the Christ –child in tinsel and holly.
Satan’s greatest weapon in the world is by misdirection. This he does by taking elements of the truth and transposing them in ways that stops a person from looking at the important thing and make them stare at something entirely different. Thus the babe in the manger dissolves into mere sentiment and is replaced by Saint Nick and glory to God is replaced with good will among men.
The fact is, the coming into the world of the Son of God, born of a Virgin and thus without sin, is a bulwark of the Christian faith. While it is true that it has elements of romance and great beauty, they are subordinate to the overall purpose of God’s redemption of mankind.
While many can see the charm of the Christmas story, few have eyes to see the real wonder of the whole gospel story and the eternal consequence of what we believe about it.
First to last the, Gospel message proclaims the alienation of man from God in sin and transgression, as well as the love of God in condescending to take on human flesh and walk the road which led to the Cross and there atone for sin by the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
There is no scope here for slicing the story up and keeping the bits of it we like. We either take it all or miss the overall purpose and benefit of it all together.
To “Ooh” and “Aah” at the new baby may suffice for most infants but is not enough here.
This particular child and the work He came to do requires a life changing faith and subjection and obedience to our Divine king.
A Ghost story for Christmas?
There is no doubt that the “Victorians” in England and Charles Dickens especially left their mark on Christmas and its celebration.
The Ghosts of Christmas past, present and future still haunt us year by year.
We remember what we lost, where we failed and measure what hope still remains.
Tiny Tim’s fate still lies in the balance in many places and Scrooge is yet to be convinced of the need to reform and do his bit for the welfare of mankind.
The gospel according to Dickens is still popular among us because it tugs at the strings of our human nature and appeals to our imagination.
While in his characters we see the darkness of human nature and admire the generosity and fortitudethat can still be found in many, we cannot seek from Dickens and his writings a real answer to the crying needs and sins of the times.
Dickens’s fiction is no substitute for God’s Word and revealed truth.
Charles Dickens may have highlighted some of the wrongs of mankind but only Jesus Christ can solve the underlying problems of human sin and alienation from the Creator. Only when this solution has been applied and become a reality in the lives of men and women, boys and girls, can we hope for renewal and love to abound.
No “Ghost”, (even if they existed), however well meaning, can substitute for an encounter with the living Saviour, Jesus Christ.