Christmas...when you try to kill it…you really kill yourself.
Legislation proposed in England in the 1700’s: “All women of whatever age, rank, profession, or degree, whether virgin, maid or widow, that shall impose upon, seduce and betray into matrimony any of His Majesty’s subjects, by scents, paints, cosmetic washes, artificial teeth, false hair, Spanish wool, iron stays, hoops, high-heeled shoes or bolstered hips shall incur the penalty of the law now in force against witchcraft and the like misdemeanors and that marriage, upon conviction, shall stand null and void.”  This piece of history is comical, yet provides a point concerning deception. The men in this day did not want women to look one way when they were courting…and a different way AFTER the vows had been spoken! This kind of deception is silly because if your getting married based solely on what your eyes see…
you deserve what you get. However, the principle is the thing I want you to get…appearing to be one thing…but in reality you are really something completely different.
When our heart is unwilling to accept Truth and we begin to manipulate…two more desperate steps will take place.
First – Deceitful Heart
Matthew 2:8-13 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.” After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way. Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.”
Unwilling to deal with reality, King Herod uses deception to try to achieve his agenda. We must be honest with ourselves and make sure we are not playing the same game. True, we will not be planning such an evil thing as what Herod does…but if we are not vigilant to test the motives of our own heart we can fall into deceit. Just consider religiosity:
Matthew 15:8 ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me.
Appearing to be something can be far different than what the reality is! Remember what Christ warned:
Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’
When we have manipulated the Truth, and deceived ourselves into thinking we can control it, the last and most tragic step is that our heart over reacts to maintain control.
Second - Over reacting Heart
Matthew 2:16 Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi.
It is amazing and shocking to witness what the human heart is capable of when it is unwilling to accept the Truth and demands to try and remain in control. The carnage that took place here is unthinkable. Today the world is still stunned by the senseless killings of children at a school in the USA…words cannot convey the sorrow for those that lost their loved ones. On this night 2000 years ago, an entire generation was wiped out…because one man had an unwilling heart and refused to humble himself to the reality of God.
The unwilling heart will always lead you to actions that will never make sense, because it is driven by appetite…not Truth. Years after this tragedy, men that were unwilling to recognize Who Christ was, were still behaving in the same manner. When confronted with the Truth of the empty tomb…they became friends with their enemy just to perpetuate a lie.
Matthew 28:11-15 Now while they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened. And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, and said, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’ “And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.” And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.
Let’s do a heart check this Christmas. Our issues may not be as major as these…but anytime we are unwilling to face the Truth…the path will lead to trouble. It could be as important as our destination for eternity, our investment for eternity…or it can be as simple as a habit that is breaking our fellowship with God. Ask the Holy Spirit, during this time when we rethink our life as a new year approaches, to open your heart to embrace Truth…all of it.
Next we will consider the Seeking Heart.
 Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 illustrations : A treasury of illustrations, anecdotes, facts and quotations for pastors, teachers and Christian workers. Garland TX: Bible Communications.