Herod’s Massacre

giovanni-innocentsHome Alone and A Muppet’s Christmas Carol are amongst my favorite Christmas movies. And nothing screams “It’s Christmas!” like Ron Howard’s brilliant version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas (which he actually claims should be called Why the Grinch Stole Christmas). But do you want to know what movies put me more in a Christmas spirit than any of the aforementioned?

Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Bear with me. The reason The Lord of the Rings puts me in a Christmas spirit isn’t so much because they were all released in the theaters days before Christmas, but because they represent more closely than any Hallmark special could, what the first Christmas was like.

Bloodshed followed on the trail of the first Christmas day. God started a necessary spiritual war, and an evil king started an unnecissary earthly war against children. 

The Lord of the Rings is all about war, is it not? And more than that, it’s about good vs. evil. It’s about finding something precious and either destroying it or using it for great power. It’s about the smallest of creatures changing the course of history and saving the world from destruction. It’s about true love, sacrifice, miracles, hope, and the beauty of evil and evil-doers being destroyed for all time.

I tell you, pour yourself a glass of Fresh Market eggnog, nibble on some puppy chow, cuddle up with your loved one, and  you can’t get much more Christmasy than that.

King Herod, who reigned during the time of Jesus’ birth inflicted a war against children because he was jealous of the future reign of this promised baby, Jesus. Any male child two years old or under were choked, drowned, stabbed, beheaded, aborted…

“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” (Matthew 2:18)

A small town in America suffered its own massacre less than a week ago. Many parents now know the feeling of losing a child. They will daily, and involunterily recount in their minds what their child’s last thoughts were just before they were shot.

But King Herods and Adam Lanzas and Pharaohs are more numerous than we would like to imagine. We walk amongst them everyday. We bump shoulders with baby killers all the time. Abortion doctors, pediatricians who offer abortion as an option to confused couples, politicians who support abortion funding, deadbeat husbands and boyfriends who push their women to “get it taken care of.” Women who willfully decide to “get it taken care of.” Yes, even people who drive around with “Pro-Choice” bumper stickers.

Adam Lanza. Pharaoh. King Herod. Pure, unadulterated evil.

But that’s only one side of the Christmas story. You see, God came down as the one thing the king was after. He came down as a baby. I think that’s why our world is so lenient with baby killing, because somewhere deep in our conscious, we associate babies to the long-awaited Messiah. I bet if a study were done (and I’m sure it has), the same people who are proponents of kicking God out of school and the Bible from the White House, are the same ones who advocate for abortion.

But you see, Herod, in all of his rage and madness, couldn’t stop the Christ-child from growing up to be King of Heaven. It makes me wonder just how many other children have been saved by the divine hand of God. It’s easy to point to God when bad things happen and blame Him, but just how many crimes are conceived in minds that don’t bear fruit because of God’s intervention?

Just like in Lord of the RIngs, the smallest creature is chosen to save the world and do away with evil. God chose the most helpless of things, a baby, to grow up and become the most humblest of beings – humble enough to submit Himself to the authority of the corrupt politicians and willingly be stapled to a wooden beam and die an agonizing death, beaten, bloody, and naked, for all to see and mock.

That’s the Christmas story. The baby Jesus was an unwrapped gift from God tucked away under, not a tree, but a manger. And that gift loved the children who came to Him, felt the thumping of a pregnant woman’s belly, and made way for the Kingdom of God to open the gates for all of the children of the world, young in years and young in spirit.

And here’s the best part! The gates of Heaven are opened to the abortionists and corrupt politicians and King Herods, if only they would repent from their sins, turn to God, and accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Make Him the best Christmas gift you will have ever received, and He will forget your sins like they never happened and accept you as a weeping child searching for a home.

That, my friends, is a Christmas story worth hearing.

Please help us get one step closer to adopting a child by purchasing my novel here. We’re trying to sell 1,600 copies by 2013.

[Image Credit]


Journey with Bilbo

hobbit-bilbo-baggins-home-610x428I’m not sure if it was my love for Shire music, hobbits, Tolkien-ish themes, semi-theology-based storytelling, or all of these combined, but The Hobbit took me for an emotional ride that I was not prepared for. It could also have been that seeing it in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre made it so wonderful and glorious to see good triumphing over evil time and again throughout the movie.

Sarabeth and I were fortunate enough to have my publisher treat us to a 3d viewing of Peter Jackson’s latest masterpiece – and it did not fail to deliver in every way that Peter Jackson typically does.

But, as most movies do, it got me thinking. It got me thinking about my own journey and unwillingness to oblige my calling. Gandalf the Grey shows up unannounced to young Bilbo’s “hole in the ground,” and after he has been asked to join up with the several dwarves who have invaded his home, and he declines, Gandalf says, “Since when did you start caring more about doilies and dishes than about love for adventure?” ( last part paraphrased).

I feel like the Holy Spirit asks me that on a regular bases. At what point did I trade sleeping in for morning devotions? When did I start caring more about catching up on the latest episodes of The Office than engaging my wife? When did having a whole pizza pie to myself become more appealing than throwing a pizza party – just for the heck of it?

Want to know a secret? If money were no issue, and I were given a chance to go to France for a year, I would be hesitant, because I wouldn’t want to leave behind my DVD player, my bookshelves, and Mexican food. Don’t get me wrong! If you feel it in your heart to send Sarabeth and me some plane tickets to travel overseas, you would not be turned down (hint, hint)!

But still, that hesitancy would linger. I’ve grown accustomed to my comforts, and at times (most times) I worship them. It’s easy to lay in bed and dream about exciting scenarios where I fight off armed robbers, offer the last morsel of food to someone else in an apocalyptic setting, travel the world to spread the Good News like some unstoppable Super Christian…

But I still wake up the next morning, turn on the space heater, read a chapter of a book, jot down notes for things to do that day, write my blog post, wake Sarabeth up, feed the dogs, turn on Fox and Friends, and get to work.

But if God called me overseas, would I go? Sarabeth and I have talked about how we would love the opportunity to smuggle children out of trafficking networks and set up orphanages… but we’re still here, in Louisville, KY. Writing blog posts and going to the movies and making grocery lists.

There’s nothing wrong with any of that. I understand mortgages must be paid, children have to be provided for, and toilets need to be fixed. But the question is, if God were to ask you, would you be willing? Would you be ready? Or would you fight it, and waste years of your life fighting something you’re only destined to give in to in the end anyway?

Life is supposed to be an unexpected journey. But we set everything in place to prevent it from being so. “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door…” You wonder: will you come back? Maybe not. “But if you do, you won’t be the same.”

At least take a look outside to see if God is standing there, knocking, waiting, calling.

And answer.

Please help us get one step closer to adopting a child, and purchase a copy of my suspense/adventure novel, The Man in the Box.

[Image Credit]