There¡¦s a thief in this world.
He¡¦s cunning and evil, deceitful and cruel. And he¡¦s on the prowl. Maybe hot on your trail, even today. His one mission is simply this ¡V ¡§to steal, kill, and destroy¡K¡¨ John 10:10. Don¡¦t let him steal your Christmas. He¡¦ll try, you know. You may not even realize it until it¡¦s too late. Distractions. Busyness. Resentments. Media hype. The quest for more stuff to fill our aching hearts, something to help satisfy a void deep within. Sometimes the enemy¡¦s ways are subtle, other times they¡¦re more clear. He uses the latest headlines to tempt us to react in anger and emotion, forgetting about the real reason we¡¦re celebrating this season. He tries to get us to fill life with so much hustle and bustle, that we¡¦re too exhausted to even enjoy our days, and much too busy for God or to pray. He whispers his lies, like tempting morsels to needy souls, leading us to compare ourselves with others, luring us to believe we still need just a little bit more to make life somehow complete. He breeds worry, anxiety, and fear in our minds and hearts, planting seeds that take firm root as we focus on every trouble. He works deceitfully, twisting truth, causing disunity, instilling loneliness, damaging relationships. His ways always lead straight to a downward spiral of stress, struggle, and defeat.
Ever since that very first Christmas, he¡¦s worked and plotted in both small and big ways. Spreading lies, twisting truth, about the birth of Christ. Striving to bring chaos and disorder about Jesus¡¦ miraculous life. Instilling fear, jealousy, and resentment in the hearts of earthly kings who never intended to share their thrones with the Savior of the world.
In Matt. 2, we see Herod secretly calling on the Magi to inquire about the newborn King. He said to them, ¡§Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.¡¨ v. 8 You can almost hear his words dripping with deceit. He had no intention to worship Jesus. He wanted to kill him. Inspired by the cruel schemes of the enemy himself, Herod¡¦s main goal was to put Christ to death.
But he had no power over the Prince of Peace.
Warned in a dream, the Magi took a detour back home, and an angel warned Joseph to get up and flee his enemy¡¦s plans. Though Jesus was kept safe through the evil plot, Herod gave orders to kill all boys in Bethlehem, 2 yrs. and younger. Such huge, grievous loss, but yet only the beginning of Satan¡¦s twisted plan to steal, kill, and destroy the Gift of Christmas.
Over the years, he¡¦s still worked his evil. Just check out the headlines in the days before Christmas. He will lure our focus right away onto lesser things, towards any big news item or distraction, just to make us miss the miracle of our Savior¡¦s birth.
Stealing. Killing. Destroying.
His tactics haven¡¦t changed.
Don¡¦t think for a minute he¡¦s forgotten you. Like he takes a Christmas vacation or we¡¦re all somehow off the hook during the holidays. He waits for just the right moment, when we¡¦re feeling weakness, or impatient, too busy to pray, or distracted, and weary. And we become prime targets for his cruel plans. But the truth is this. We don¡¦t have to let him win. God gives us the power to stand strong and say ¡§no.¡¨ We have a choice of who we listen to and what we choose to focus on and believe. Recognize who is at the root of it all, and push past his lies, step over his traps. God gives us the power through His Holy Spirit to live free from the entanglement of sin. He gives us the power to live strong. He gives wisdom and discernment to make the right choices. He gives joy deep inside. He offers the assurance, that no matter what we face, He still is with us.
For we know the end of the story too. Jesus, the Savior of the world, came for one reason. Christ was born, but he didn¡¦t remain a tiny baby. He had a purpose in coming. He was willing to endure the pain of the cross, He took our sin upon himself, He died and was buried, and then rose again. He conquered sin. He lives victorious over death. He paved the way for us to be set free.
This is the powerful story that can never be stolen, killed, or destroyed. This is the miracle that can¡¦t be hidden, ignored, or lost in the midst of more pressing or seemingly relevant issues of today¡¦s popular culture and headline news. Because He still shines through. He shines straight into darkness and nothing can cover up His power¡KHis forgiveness¡KHis love. Nothing but Christ alone can fill the void that we have deep within our hearts.
5 Ways to Stand Guard against the Enemy and Focus on the Presence of Christ this Christmas:
Live aware of the enemy¡¦s schemes, especially in the midst of this busy season. Don¡¦t be caught unaware.
Stay close to God, through prayer, time in His word, worship, and fellowship with other believers.
Be ruthless with sin and ask God for His help in times of weakness. Choose not to give the devil any foothold, or opportunity to work in your life.
Walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, with the armor and protection of God Almighty.
¡P Believe that the Lord is with you. Always. He never leaves us to fight or stand on our own.
¡P The Truth spoken through Isaiah the prophet 700 years before Jesus was even born is still so relevant and needed today more than ever.
¡P He is ¡§¡K.Immanuel, which means, God with us.¡¨ Is. 7:14
¡P May His grace, joy, peace, and hope cover you powerfully and abundantly this Christmas season, as we celebrate our Savior and Lord Jesus.
¡P ¡§¡KI came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.¡¨ John 10:10