‘O tid­ings of com­fort and joy!’

David Jones on how Herod’s way leads to dev­as­ta­tion, de­struc­tion and un­told suf­fer­ing

Llanelli Star - - Letters -

CHRISTMAS Eve 1968, 50 years ago this Christmas, mil­lions around the world were watch­ing and lis­ten­ing as Apollo 8 as­tro­nauts Frank Bor­man, Jim Lovell and Bill An­ders be­came the first space trav­ellers to or­bit the moon.

1968 had been one of the most tur­bu­lent years for the USA, which had suf­fered the as­sas­si­na­tion of Dr Martin Luther King and Se­na­tor Robert Kennedy.

Break­ing through the dark­ness came words of hope as in turn the as­tro­nauts read from the book of Ge­n­e­sis: “In the be­gin­ning God cre­ated the heav­ens and the earth”, bring­ing to a na­tion and a world words of as­sur­ance and hope. God said: “Let there be light and there was light.”

We of­ten over­look that be­hind that first Christmas was the evil of King Herod, whose jeal­ousy and para­noia led to the mur­der of all the baby boys born in Beth­le­hem.

Evil was there seek­ing to de­stroy and hin­der the com­ing of God’s king­dom of love and peace.

This Christmas that evil is still to be seen in the tor­tured faces of those caught up in the dev­as­ta­tion of the Ye­men and other parts of the world where cruel dic­ta­tor­ships wreak havoc and de­spair for so many.

Herod’s legacy re­mains, but his end was near and his in­ten­tions were never to be ful­filled. God was in con­trol.

That first Christmas an­gels sang of peace and good­will to all hu­man­ity through the Saviour born in Beth­le­hem.

Je­sus grew to the ma­tu­rity of man­hood and spoke of lov­ing our neigh­bour with no bound­aries of cul­ture, reli­gion or race.

Christmas leads on to Easter and to the cer­tainty of the judge­ment that will come upon all who do evil and that world peace is no lost cause when we take se­ri­ously the ways or­dained by God that first Christmas.

Herod’s way al­ways leads to dev­as­ta­tion, de­struc­tion and un­told suf­fer­ing. The way of the shep­herds and wise men bring us to the manger where di­vine light dif­fused the dark­ness of evil and sin.

This time­less mes­sage is eter­nal and yet ever new.

The way to Beth­le­hem is there for us all to fol­low, it is the way of hope and never the way of ha­tred and fear.

May peace come to all those re­gions of the world where the ways of Herod re­main and may the way to Beth­le­hem bring us all to the place where love was born.

“O tid­ings of com­fort and joy!” A happy and peace­ful Christmas to you and yours!

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