“A little over 2000 years ago, a young Jewish woman named Mary, living in the town of Nazareth, experienced a very significant Angelic visitation. The Bible details the story of the birth of the Christ in Matthew and Luke Chapters 1 and 2. Sadly, this story is becoming more and more controversial as towns and cities across America seek to rid themselves of the Nativity scenes on their town Squares and City Halls. Thankfully, Christians are fighting back, and have even won some of these battles.
However, this is just the tip of the Iceberg. Christian persecution has exploded in many countries, such as China, Russia, many parts of the Middle East, and North Korea. In fact, there are now more than 215 Million persecuted Christians worldwide.
The authorities in Langfang, a city in China’s Hebei Province, have issued a ban on all Christmas displays on streets and in stores, according to a notice from city officials.
This is not the first time a city in China has clamped down on Christmas.Last December, Hengyang, a city in Hunan province, issued a stern notice asking Communist Party officials and their relatives to “resist the rampant Western festival.” The China Communist Youth League in Anhui wrote on social media last year that “Christmas is China’s Day of shame” and represents a latter-day invasion by the West.
The ban on Christmas decorations in Langfang is part and parcel of the Chinese government’s tightening control over religion,” said Yaqiu Wang, a researcher for Human Rights Watch. Though many nonreligious Chinese celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday, she said the ban on Christmas displays reflects “increased hostility” towards Western culture and Western values.
The Chinese government’s crackdown on Christianity continues to intensify. Christian congregations in Beijing and several provinces are having their crosses destroyed, Bibles burned, and churches shut down according to pastors and a group that monitors religion in China. Furthermore, the government is ordering followers of Christ to sign papers renouncing their faith in some areas.
Under President Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, religious believers are seeing their freedoms shrink dramatically even as the country undergoes a religious revival.
The continued suppression of religious freedom is part of an official campaign to “Sinicize” religion by demanding loyalty to the atheist Communist party. They also seek to remove any potential challenge to the party’s power in the country.
China is definitely not the only place cracking down on Christmas….
In STIRLING, Scotland, December 12, 2018 – A shopping mall in Scotland has overturned its ban on displaying a Christmas nativity scene after Christians protested the decision by staging a living nativity, right within the mall.
What is it about the birth of the Christ that terrifies so many Governments, institutions, and other religions around the world (atheism is a religion), that they now seek to BAN Nativity scenes and in some cases, Christmas altogether?? Just as it was in the days that Jesus walked the earth, He threatens the “status quo”! Jesus threatens the current power structure, He threatens their grip of control over the people. Jesus came to set the people FREE, and the governments of the world just want to keep the people enslaved to the world’s system (which is really satan’s system). They cannot have people coming to the knowledge of the truth!!!
Can we HANDLE the truth??
The truth is, over 2000 years ago, one of God’s Highest Ranking angels, the Archangel Gabriel, delivered a message from YHWH to a young virgin woman named Mary who was betrothed to a man named Joseph. Although the woman had never been with a man, Gabriel told her that she was favored by YHWH, and that she had been chosen from among many women to deliver the Christ child (Messiah). Mary, understandably afraid, asked the angel how this would be possible since she had never “known” a man. Gabriel explained that the Holy Spirit would come upon her, and she would conceive a son. There was absolutely nothing sexual about this at all, but the Holy Spirit (Spirit of YHWH) would be the Father of the child. Although this is difficult for us to comprehend, Mary obediently agreed to this honor. (Luke 1:26-38).
Joseph, Mary’s fiance was understandably concerned. Had Mary cheated on him? Of course, this thought must have crossed his mind! Who could possibly believed the story of an “immaculate conception”? Honestly, in those days, a woman could have been stoned to death for cheating on her fiance. However, Joseph, being a kind and Righteous man, planned on sparing her life and simply sending Mary away. But thankfully, the angel of the Lord visited Joseph in a dream and explained that the conception had taken place, not by “normal means”, but by the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20). In-fact, all of this was to fulfill the prophecy of the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah written approximately 700 years before the time of Christ.
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” (Isaiah 7:14).
Joseph, convinced that this was the truth, agreed to remain betrothed to Mary and be the Step-Father to the Son of GOD!!!
As Mary’s pregnancy progressed along, Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census be taken of the entire Roman world. In order for this to happen, each person had to return to the place of their tribe so that they could be counted. Although Joseph and Mary were living in Galilee, in the land of Napthali (one of the 12 Tribes of Israel), they were both from the Tribe of Judah and therefore had to travel back to Judea to be counted. This was a difficult and arduous journey for a very pregnant Mary and a very concerned Joseph, and yet they had no choice. This is why Mary and Joseph, of Galilee, ended up delivering Jesus in a town called Bethlehem. Bethlehem was in Judea, the province of the tribe of Judah. In fact, this too fulfilled a prophecy in the Old Testament. Micah 5, written about 700 years before Jesus, details how the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Bethlehem literally means “House of Bread”, and Jesus IS the Bread of Life (John 6:35).
Micah 5:2: But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
[bHis goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.”
When Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem, the Bible tells us that there was no room at the Inn. The innkeeper, seeing Mary’s condition, took pity on them, and set them up in one of the nearby Stables. Jesus, the Great I AM, the King of the Universe, was born to very regular, and humble parents in a lowly Stable.
However, this birth was anything but regular. Nearby, there were shepherd boys keeping watch over their flocks by night.
These shepherd boys were visited by a whole host of Angels, proclaiming to them the Good News, that the Savior of the World had been born in a nearby manger. The shepherds were understandably afraid, as the Glory of the Lord shone around them. The Angels were singing and giving glory to God! After the Angels returned to Heaven, the Shepherd boys went to find the Christ Child. Just as the Angels had told them, they did indeed find the Christ Child lying in a manger, where the cattle were fed, wrapped in “swaddling cloths”. The Shepherds returned to their fields full of joy, and thanking YHWH for what they had just seen! (Luke 2: 8-20).
There were others that were miraculously lead to the Christ Child. There were Magi (distinguished foreigners, wise men), who traveled from the East and arrived in Jerusalem looking for Jesus at around the time He was born. They had apparently read the prophecies about the Christ child, and they saw the signs in the sky, and they recognized that it was the time and place of His Birth. The Bible details that the Star that the Wise men had been watching somehow came to rest over the place of Jesus’ birth. There are a lot of theories about how this could be; however, for this blog we’ll just assume that the star shone over the manger in some way. (Matthew 2: 1-12).
Even then, the Governments of the world were threatened by Jesus, the Messiah! The evil King Herod, a descendant of Esau, wanted to have the Christ child killed, so tried to trick the Magi into showing him where the Christ was born. However, YHWH warned them in a dream not to report to King Herod, but to return to their country “another way”. The Magi escaped unharmed, but Herod still ended up massacring many young infant boys in his slaughter of the innocents. 😥
Matthew 2: 12 And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.
The birth of the Christ, the Savior of the world, the Promised Seed, is absolutely THE most significant event in human HIS STORY!!! Jesus the Messiah, the GREAT IAM…. literally came to earth to SAVE mankind from ETERNAL DEATH through His Physical death on the cross at His First Advent (coming). But there is more! Jesus IS COMING AGAIN! This is why Governments, peoples, and religions feel so threatened and why Christian persecution is at an all time high! Jesus IS King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and He will soon be returning to overthrow ALL of the kingdoms of this world and establish HIS eternal KINGDOM, the KINGDOM OF GOD, the KINGDOM THAT WILL HAVE NO END!!! (Luke 1:33, Daniel 2:44).
LET US REJOICE!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!