Given by Rev. Madison Shockley December 29 2019

According to scripture, Jesus is in danger soon after he is born. The holy family must escape to Egypt from King Herod. We have a lot of historical information about Herod. He reigned for 40 years. Herod wanted to change the landscape of Israel in order to secure a place in history as a great king.  Herod assumed the throne, not from birth or conquest, but was installed by a foreign power, the Romans.  He was a clever politician who ingratiated himself to the Roman Empire. He was also a cruel king. Since he was insecure about his kingship, his response to disloyalty was quick and violent. He even executed three of his own sons.  He was a true tyrant. Herod was also known for his great building projects that transformed the land. The best known was the rebuilding of the Temple of Jerusalem. The question is why was this powerful man so afraid of a baby?  Some scholars feel it was his insecurity and paranoia. Others feel that a true heir might rally the people and overthrown him. There is no evidence that he actually did the slaughter of the innocents that many accuse him of doing though. Jesus was named King of the Jews by Herod. This was brought full circle when he was given a crown of thorns and named King of the Jews at his crucifixion.  This framed the entire gospel. This was the reason Jesus was a danger. Today, how we treat our children tells us a lot about ourselves, our values, and our view of the future. We do not know which child will raise to lead us in the future. Children always surprise us with their courage and resilience. They have a huge impact on us. They have shaken us and changed the world. Treat every child as a future leader of our world. They are our greatest gift!