Like it or not, Herod the Great was a part of that first Christmas story. Herod was the King of Israel when Jesus was born. As you look at Herod’s life, it’s obvious he mistreated people, misused people, and misled people. As a result he experienced a life empty of meaningful relationships and God’s favor.
There’s a hint of Herod in all of us. Whenever we run our lives, we’re signing up for exactly what Herod experienced. We’re signing up for an empty life. Because we are not wired, we are not created to sit on the throne of our lives and call the shots. But the good news is, at that first Christmas, God brought hope for us in all of our relationships. We must, however, let the Christ of Christmas confront how we treat others and relate to those around us.
Christmas confronts our misuse of people. In what area of your life do you tend to misuse people? Do you tend to see people as pawns, as objects, as rungs on a ladder to get to where you want to go? In marriage you may be misusing your spouse. At work you may be misusing others to climb the ladder and get ahead. You can even misuse your kids or your parents. Someone who has issues of power and control will misuse other people.
Christmas confronts our misleading of people. Do you ever mislead others? Again, it calls for a thorough examination in every area of our lives and an honesty to admit we are doing it. Do we live lives of integrity, or do we hide behind a façade of a robe and a crown so that others don’t see the real person who is holding the scepter?
Christmas confronts our mistreatment of people. In what areas of your life do you tend to mistreat others? For example, why do we cut people down? Why do we gossip? Why do we slander? We do it because of power and control. We think if we rip others apart it somehow elevates the person doing the ripping. But it’s really just the opposite.
Around the Christmas holidays, we are thrust into many environments with family and all the relatives and friends and people who have mistreated us. It can be very difficult. Perhaps you were mistreated by a parent, a child, or some other relative. So often we mistreat them because they mistreated us. Why not, this holiday season, take them aside and say, “I’m so sorry. I’ve misused you, misled you, and mistreated you. I want to ask you to forgive me.” You will not believe what could happen.