Advent Reflection 12/19/14
Not all kings responded to Jesus’ birth with the same faith demonstrated by the magi.
When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.
King Herod was appalled at the thought of a king other than himself. He was deceitful, asking the magi to “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” Herod had no intention of doing him homage, but rather wished to destroy Jesus so that nothing would threaten Herod’s power. In his eagerness to preserve his own position, prestige, and power, he ordered the killing of innocent children. The headlines in Bethlehem some 2,000 years ago must have been quite similar to those in Pakistan this week.
Offer a prayer today for all of the children around the world whose lives, safety, and health are threatened.
While none of us could imagine responding to the birth of Jesus with the rage and violence of King Herod, it is possible that we, like Herod, do not always keep God as our top priority. Are you hesitant to bow down to Jesus and offer him your entire life? Is there something in your lifestyle, your attitude, or your leisure activities that would have to change if you truly turned your whole life over to God?
The prayer with which I frequently open my personal prayer time begins like this: Father, thank you for the abundant gifts you have given me–both those I recognize as gift and those I have a harder time accepting or understanding. I offer all of it to you. Take away anything that separates me from you. Give me what I need to become the person you created me to be.
Hold your hands out in front of you, palms up. Imagine all of the gifts God has given you, resting on your open hands. Keep your hands open; don’t try to grasp those gifts so tightly. Ask God if there is anything he wants you to give up, so that you can draw closer to him. Then sit in the silence and listen.