The Herod of today sits in his big palace with hundreds of guards around him. He has heard rumours about the Jesus movement in his country and does not have this movement 'under control'. He will ask his special police to get information so that 'I also may go and worship him'. In at least 40 palaces the Herods of today talk regularly with the Minister of Religious Affairs about the news of Jesus and about people going to worship him. 

The religious leaders of today also work hard. They work with the State. They have a secure position. They know the words but do not know the Word. They are the State's religious experts but they have no idea about what God is doing in the world today. Neither do they understand what Jesus is doing in their country. They do not like the new enthusiasm! 

HolyFamily

PICTURE: Sarah Smith (iStockphoto.com)



"The Jesus of today is the same as then! He is the same forever. But says the sceptic of today: What is so different about Him? What's so special about Christmas after all?  What makes Jesus very different is that He decided Himself to be born! He decided where He wanted to be born! He decided by whom He would be born! Who else has done that?"

The wise men of today are still riding on their high intellectual camels. The wise men always seem to have a longer way to Jesus than the simple shepherds. But the wise men of today are still looking for Jesus. That's why they are called wise! May God show them the 
way! 

The Augustus of today still thinks he is making world history. He has the big army. He sees everything in political terms and does not understand that the real history is not his history but HIS-story. 

The stable owners of today are the people who give the little they have into God's hand without knowing what a great blessing they are giving and how they pave the way for Jesus into people's lives. 

The shepherds of today live in China, Vietnam, Laos, North Korea, Sudan, Egypt, Bulgaria and many other countries. They are the poorest in the world but at the same time the richest because they find Jesus today! Some 70,000 of these shepherds bow down before Jesus for the first time every day! The Christmas story goes on greater than ever! 

The Joseph of today suddenly understands that 'Jesus has entered the family'! He is ready to find new solutions and ways so that Jesus can grow in the family and become the real centre of the family. He listens, trusts, obeys and learns. May God give us all the heart of Joseph! 

The Mary of today is the channel that God uses to give Jesus to a family. Tens of thousands of Marys are living all over the world - in communist countries, in Muslim countries and others. May God bless them all! 

The Jesus of today is the same as then! He is the same forever. But says the sceptic of today: What is so different about him? What's so special about Christmas after all? 

What makes Jesus very different is that He decided Himself to be born! He decided where He wanted to be born! He decided by whom He would be born! Who else has done that? 

He created the world into which He wanted to be born! Who else has done that? He died for the world He created but loves so much. Who else has done that? He left this world some weeks after His death! Who else has done that? He has promised to come back in glory one day. Who else has done that? 

I would say that makes him very special in relation to any other man born into this world.

That is why we can rejoice once again when we wish each other a blessed Christmas! 

Johan Candelin is the International Director of the World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission. For more information on the work of the commission, visit www.idop.org