The Christmas event has many characters. Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus, the shepherds and the wise men. Then there was King Herod who was ruling Jerusalem at the Roman Empire’s pleasure, and enjoying power, fame, and material possessions.
Herod believed the scriptures, and when he learnt that the Messiah was born, he interpreted the scriptures to mean that the Messiah would displace him. Herod therefore did all within his power to kill the baby Jesus. He first tried deceit, pretending to be a worshipper of Jesus. Then he tried murder, ordering the killing all of the male children under 2 years old in the town of Bethlehem and its surrounding districts.
Herod understood that it was God’s plan that the Messiah should come. Yet, he determined to fight against God. While he did not succeed, his actions resulted in the unnecessary slaughter of many babies in Bethlehem. The scriptures descriptively record the emotional state at the aftermath. “A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping, and great mourning. Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted because they are no more.” (Matt 2:18)
Amidst the joys attending the birth of Jesus, there was to follow the inconsolable pain of parents who lost their children as a consequence of a man fighting against God. Persons who fight against their Creator engage in perhaps the most unnatural and futile act imaginable. Jesus described this futility while referring to himself as the cornerstone. “Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.” (Lu.20:17) Those who fight against God ultimately harm themselves and can negatively affect persons under their influence.
What is often described as the cruel hand of fate, bad Karma, or unfortunate coincidence may actually be the consequences of persons who are engaged in adversarial relationships with God. The death by a drunk driver, divorce through adultery, cancer from pesticide and herbicide treated foods, heart disease from second hand smoke, sickness from genetically engineered foods, disability from generically engineered viruses and HIV/AIDS, and oppression by dictators can usually be traced to persons who are fighting against God in their selfish quest for pleasure, fame, and/or money.
The friends and relatives of the negatively affected persons can be deceived into thinking that their loved ones suffered acts of God, or that God took them, or that cancer and other diseases are a natural part of life on earth. God did not take them, and cancer and other diseases are not a natural part of life. Those who died or suffered in this manner were probably under the influence of persons who were fighting against God. Those who fight against God will always lose, and those persons who are directly under their influence will most likely suffer as a natural consequence.
It is therefore prudent for persons to remove themselves from under the influence of those who are actively fighting against God. This can be as simple as walking out of a smoking environment, or purchasing organically grown foods. However, sometimes it is not so simple. No one knows when and where the drunk driver will strike and what foods are genetically engineered. Persons can either accept the risks and selfishly hope that their family and friends will not be negatively affected, or they can lobby for change to reduce the risk of anyone being negatively affected.
In the case of drunk driving, the Government can be lobbied to establish penalties that will serve as deterrents rather than inconveniences. In the case of genetically engineered foods, the Government can be lobbied to label such foods so that Barbadians will no longer be forced to eat them.
Those who have already lost loved ones in the manners described in this article may find themselves heartbroken at Christmas, which can lead to a state of loneliness. Loneliness can be avoided by developing new friendships, and the most faithful friend that anyone can have is the Lord Jesus Christ.