Around Christmastime, it’s easy to get bogged down by the to-do list, by getting and receiving gifts and by hosting the best party. But amid all the rush, don’t forget to check your heart to ensure Jesus is still first.
Are you more like John the Baptist or Herod? When we think of the Christmas story, we don’t normally think of these characters—but John was born around the same time as Jesus, and Herod was the king or ruler of Galilee, where Jesus was born (which is why His parents had to flee with Him). As John gets older, we begin to see his attitude toward Jesus being vastly different from that of Herod, says Pastor Donny Karpinen at Victory Church.
“From John we see surrender, we see deflection—he deflects influence on to Jesus. And ultimately from John, we see sacrifice,” Karpinen says. “But from King Herod, we see pride and grasping for power and for control. … The reality is, we all have a little bit of Herod inside of us. … So the coming of Jesus brings ultimately a destruction to the little sandcastle kingdoms that we’re trying to build of our own.
” … As we celebrate Christmas this year, friends, we can either battle for the throne of our lives or we can gladly give that throne to the rightful King who can usher in peace and joy. But can we recognize the consumerism that surrounds this season? Can we recognize the flailing and the grasping to be first and can we just put that aside and let carnage happen to our old self and put Jesus rightfully on the throne?”
For more teaching on examining your priorities and making sure Jesus is at the center, watch the entire sermon here.