The Characters of Christmas #2: King Herod Today, on this the second Sunday in Advent, we continue to think about some of the characters from the Christmas story. The character we are looking at today is the villain in the story. If the Christmas story were to be staged as a pantomime, the audience would most likely “boo” and “hiss” as the wicked King Herod enters the scene. Herod was probably only a nominal Jew, his family had converted to Judaism; yet he saw himself as king of the Jews and feeling threatened at the news of a new king being born, he set out to kill the child. The wise men from the east had consulted Herod about the whereabouts of the new king and upon learning that Bethlehem would be the birthplace; he asked them to bring him news of the new King on their return journey. Being warned in a dream, they outwitted Herod returning home by another route. This deeply outraged the king and in an attempt to eliminate any potential rival to his throne, he issued an order that all the boys aged 2 years and under, living in Bethlehem, be killed. Just as Christ and His earthly parents were threatened and opposed by Herod, the followers of Jesus still face intimidation and persecution today. In many parts of Asia, Christians face all kinds of opposition, some from Communist government officials and others from militant religious groups within Islam and Hinduism. Many followers of Christ have been displaced from their homes and communities in the same way that Jesus, Mary and Joseph were exiled in Egypt and could only safely return after the death of Herod. Please pray today for our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the continent of Asia, as they live out their faith amidst intense opposition and persecution. You can sign up to receive the Christmas devotions by email straight to your inbox. Sign up here! --- To celebrate God's faithfulness throughout our 20 years of ministry in Asia, our goal this Christmas is to provide 20,000 copies of His Word to a people group in Myanmar, that they might know Him and receive eternal life! Find out more!