The Stand

December 7, 2015
by Lynne Phipps

Matthew 2:12,16 – And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, [the Magi] returned to their own country by another route. When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. (NIV)

My new Alpine goat, Agnes, is a milking goat, which has been a very interesting experience for me. Sophie, my two-year-old retriever, also found Agnes very interesting in an amusing way, at least for a time. Sophie loved nothing better than to try and get Aggie's goat by rushing at her or creeping up behind her and touching her cold nose to Agnes's udder. Sophie's antics caused Agnes much distress until the day that she finally chose to take a stand. As Sophie rushed in, Aggie stood her ground, lowered her head, then rose up on her hind legs to meet the onslaught. Sophie realized immediately that the game was over. Now, whenever Agnes is on her way from the corral to the milking shed and Sophie comes near, Aggie whirls around and stands her ground until Sophie backs away.

Agnes needed to make a choice: to stand or to continue to back down amidst Sophie's threat. I believe that as Christmas approaches, God's people also need to take a stand: a stand for Jesus. Needing to take a stand for Christ isn't something new, however. It began almost at the moment of His birth. The shepherds, upon finding Mary and Joseph and the Baby Who was lying in the manger, took a stand by "glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen" (Luke 2:20b NIV). The Magi took a stand for Christ when they chose to follow the warning that they had received in a dream not to return to Herod but to go home by a different route. Herod also took a stand regarding Christ, but his stand, unlike that of the shepherds and the Magi, was a stand of defiance and hatred against the newborn King.

Today, people still take a stand for Christ, for or against. There is no in-between, something that has become clearer and clearer over the past several years, as we have seen the growing trend to change Christmas from its true meaning to a generic holiday. Most schools, businesses, greeting card companies, and the like, now celebrate "the holidays" not "Christmas", so as not to offend anyone. And yet, Jesus has always offended people. Why? Because His very Being challenges us to make a choice: to believe that He is Who He said He is or not — the very Son of God, Emmanuel, Who takes away the sin of the world for all who choose to believe and trust in His name.

This Christmas, which stand will you take: to stand up for the Christ we celebrate, or to back down to the opposition?

Prayer: Father God in heaven, thank You so much for sending Jesus to earth that first Christmas day. Thank You that You took a stand of love for us amidst our sin, that we might take a stand for Christ, Who is our salvation and life. Bless us with both the courage and the grace to stand firm in our beliefs and the true meaning of the celebration of Christmas, for indeed, Jesus is the reason for the season. In His wonderful name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Lynne Phipps <lynnephipps@hotmail.com>
Atlin, British Columbia, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Challenging as always Lynne. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas season.


    Well said.
    Thank you.


    Thank you Lynne for connecting the dots about the Reason for the Season.
    Merry Christmas and God Bless.


    Amen.
    What an interesting time you have.
    Blessings.


    Thank you, Lynne, for sharing this devotional with us. I could just picture that mischievous goat and long-suffering dog. Good lesson drawn from their interaction. Blessings.


    A very unusual and interesting story Lynn,
    But well said. I certainly am in agreement with you on taking a stand.
    Bless you for bringing this point to the forefront of our celebration of the Lord’s birth.


    AMEN to that message!
    Lynn I always find an important message in your regular writings.
    Warm wishes for a Blessed Christmas and thank you.
    God Bless.


    Wonderful message Lynne! It reminded me of the song, “Stand up, Stand up for Jesus” – it’s been a while since I heard it but I love the profound words. Anyway, I always enjoy your animal stories. They provide a good illustration that help you get your point across. Very well written!
    Blessings.


    Amen indeed.
    I love your tales, Lynne. Today it was a bright tart to my day, imaging the antics of Agnes and Sophie.
    Thank you for that and for the beautiful reminder that Christ is the reason for this wonderful season. Nothing more, nothing less.
    Happy Christmas to you and yours.


    Dear Lynne,
    Thanks for your call to stand for Jesus. We should be proud to stand for the most adorable person in the whole world. He is all we need for our broken hurting well. He is the Prince of Peace. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life in our confused and corrupt world. I agree with you that all Christian must rededicate our live to our Loving Saviour. Christmas.
    (Ghana)


    I apologize for being contrarian but I am not sure about “taking your stand” on the Christmas/Holidays debate. It seems to me that if secular people want to talk about “Holidays” we can’t stop them and protesting and complaining is simply negative and counter productive. It could be argued by going another way the Magi were not taking a stand but doing a runner – but no harm in that. Paul and even Jesus did tactical withdrawals on occasion. Acts 9.25 2 Corinthians 11.33 Matthew 14.13. We have a lot of praying and thinking to do about how we witness in a hostile society which no longer shares many Christian assumptions. We admire Elijah in 1 Kings for taking his stand against Ahab but we are also given the model of Obadiah in 1 Kings 18 who remained faithful to the LORD in a more low key way.


    Lynne – I really loved your story about Agnes and Sophie. It reminded me about the increase in bullying where those who are bullied must learn to stand their ground. We as Christians must also stand for our Lord “as we see the day approaching.”
    May you and your family have a blessed Christmas.


    Thank you for your “take-a-stand” devotional.
    I pray for God’s power-every-hour, indeed every instant of our lives, to stand for our Lord. This prayer is for all Christians.
    Thanks that God gave you the idea when you saw your goat take a stand.
    I pray for you a blessed Christmas and forever. Amen.

 



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