The Christmas Stampede

The word stampede brings up different images, like 100s of rushing cattle in the Old West with cowboys racing alongside.  Another image is the Calgary Stampede, a week-long rodeo and festival in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  In Spain, there is the annual “Running of the Bulls” where 100s of participants run in front or alongside of bulls as they race through the blocked off streets of Pamplona on their way to meet a matador in the bullring later that day.

The Christmas stampede generally occurs the Friday after Thanksgiving Day in the United States – “Black Friday.”  In 2008, 2,000 shoppers outside a Wal-mart in Valley Stream, NY, stampeded into the store when the doors were opened, trampling to death a Wal-mart employee, even ignoring pleas and attempts by fellow Wal-mart employees to rescue the stricken man.  Since then at other locations, such as Target, Toys R Us and other stores, shoppers have used pepper spray, threatened to use weapons, and trampled other shoppers in line.

At the first Christmas in Bethlehem, there was no stampede to meet the birth of the King of Kings and Creator of the Universe when he arrived on planet earth as a newborn baby.  Just three foreign dignitaries showed up un-announced.  And a group of uneducated, unsophisticated, unassuming shepherds – the lowest of the blue collar workers.  The only animals were those kept in the stable and whatever the three wise men may have rode on.

The closest to a Christmas stampede came later when King Herod thought there might be a new king to assume his throne, and he sent his soldiers on a rampage through Bethlehem, killing all male children 2 years and under.

If there was no rush to meet Jesus when He came the first time, what will it be like when He comes again in the clouds of glory with all His holy angels?  I am afraid that today there is more of a rush to get the latest Black Friday deals on electronics and Christmas bargains, than there is to welcome Jesus into the heart and pursue a trusting, loving, all encompassing relationship with Jesus Christ.  Our economic engines encourage us to be materialistic and consumeristic, especially at this time.  All this can occupy the heart, instead of the Creator of the heart.  Jesus spoke to His disciples of His second coming and asked the question in Luke 18:8 – “…When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”

Just as Jesus came to this earth once, so He has assured us that He will come again.  Soon.  And when He comes the second time, there will be a stampede.  Revelation 6 speaks of what happens at the coming of the Lord to this earth.   “And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’”  (Revelation 6:15-17, NKJV)

At Christ’s next coming to earth, most people are stampeding to hide from the very One who alone wants to save them and is able to save them.

How about you?  Where is your heart and affection right now?

This Christmas season as you celebrate with family and friends. As you give and receive gifts.  As you observe the rush and the crowds in their holiday shopping.

I urge you to remember the great gift of God. Jesus, the baby born in the manager Who was and is heaven’s gift to each person here on this earth.

But even beyond that.  Now at Christmas when you think of the birth of Jesus as He came to the earth as a baby — remember that Jesus is coming again.

Just as surely as He came 2,000 years ago and was worshipped by the wise men and the shepherds, even so He will come again very soon.

Right now the world’s population may not be stampeding to meet him.  But you and I can be ready.  We can live each day in His presence.

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