This time of the year we sing all of those Christmas carols, but I think that too often it is done out of rote memory rather than conviction. There is often a syrupy sentimentality about a baby, born in a manger, without really understanding the full significance of what Christmas is about. So it seems appropriate to take into account a few important perspectives that will help us to fully appreciate what is going on here.
The baby that we sing about is a king. This is why Herod tried to kill him and all of the male children that were about two years old in Bethlehem (Matthew 2: 16-18). In other words, Herod realized something that many Christians do not realize today. Specifically, that because Jesus is the true King of the Jews, that He would command the loyalty and obedience of all of His subjects. Herod did not want anyone else around who might have a claim to the throne. Herod did not want to submit to anyone else. In much the same way as Herod, many who call themselves Christian today will acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the king, but they will not submit to Him. We are called to be like Christ, but too often we are like Herod. To the degree that we do not submit to Christ, we are like Herod.
Even though He was born to rule, Jesus Christ was called to a life of submission to the will of the Father. (Phillippians 2: 5- 10). In contrast, Herod was thought to be quite mad. He killed at least three of his sons. He also killed at least two of his wives. He was crafty and ruthless and did all he could to hold onto his power like grim death. Herod was evil and everyone knew it. Including Herod. His life was characterized by rebellion to the will of the Father.
In Luke 6:46, we find the Lord saying: “Why do you call me Lord, Lord and not do what I tell you?” If Jesus Christ is your King and your Lord, then do you eat or drink or whatever you do to the glory of God? (1 Corinthians 10: 31 and Colossians 3: 17). Do you love God’s people and keep God’s Commandments? (1 John 5:1-3). Do you continually seek to serve your king by seeking His will through His word? Do you seek the fellowship of His saints? Do you attend a local congregation on a regular basis?
Christians are ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18). As such, they represent Him by living holy lives and giving the terms of peace to those who are at war with our King. So do you live in such a way, that people know that you are a Christian because of your holy life? Do you give the Gospel of the kingdom of Jesus Christ to those who do not know Him, so that they may be reconciled with God? Do you represent your King in your workplace by being an excellent worker? Do you represent your King in the voting booth by voting in accordance with His revealed will? Do you give the time and money that you are stewarding in accordance with His will?
If Jesus Christ is our King then we cannot compartimentalize our lives to keep Him out of some parts. Some will contend that there is their Church life, and their business life, and their political life, and never the twain shall meet. If Jesus Christ is the King of all creation, then all of these areas of our lives must be in submission to His will. Worshipping Jesus Christ is by no means limited to just going to Church services (but it does begin there).
I have asked a lot of tough questions that even I do not want to answer about myself, but if we want to be faithful to Jesus Christ we have to answer these questions. Otherwise, we are merely paying lip service to the reality that the child born in the manger 2000 years ago is the King of all creation and worthy of our true worship. If we are not submitting our whole lives to Him then were are in rebellion, just like Herod.
This Christmas, let us not fall into the old sloppy sentimentality that is so often associated with children and giving presents, etc. Let us worship Him in spirit and in truth, by giving our whole lives to Him. Not just on Christmas day, but every day.