It's easy to forget the reason for Christmas isn't really about the manger, the wise men, the shepherds, or the star. The real reason we celebrate this time of year is the fact that God is With us. He isn't just AT us, rather; He came to earth to walk with us.
I was reading Matthew 26 today, and found the beginning of the passion week.
When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, "As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified."
Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him. "But not during the Feast," they said, "or there may be a riot among the people." (Matthew 26:1-5)
Of course Jesus was on a mission to make it to the cross, but in real time, often we forget it was the religious leaders that plotted His death.
They wanted to take Him out.
He was stirring up too much controversy.
He was allowing the faith to be back in the hands of the people, and that threatened the religious rank and file.
He turned the law on its ear.
He made the truth known to the poor.
He took the prideful authority away from the priests, pharisees, and sadducees.
He was giving the faith to all who would believe and be brave enough to accept the gift.
Jesus' faith isn't dangerous, except for those who hold power.
The central theme of Jesus' message is to love the creator, and love those around you.
And…when we dilute the competition from one group over another, it's a controversial concept for those in power.
God with us…I keep thinking…Emanuel. How wonderful He is!!