Christmas Scapegoats

Written by Jeff Carlson on .

President  Melania ChristmasRight now, most of us are looking forward to a blessed Christmas holiday with family and friends in a couple of weeks. Christmas is always a season of wonder that allows us to publicly celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, Savior of the world. Christmas reminds us that the Lord of Heaven and Earth had an amazing plan to enter this fallen world as a human being, our Emmanuel, to save and redeem us from our sin and give us life eternal. Christmas has historically been a season, whatever our beliefs, to express kindness and love toward all and celebrates a little good will toward our fellow humans. Christmas has been a special season to work a little less, love a little more, sing some Christmas carols, drink some hot cocoa and take some time to celebrate the gift of life the Lord has given us and enjoy it with everyone the Lord sends our way.

However, this year's Christmas season is going to be a very different one. It appears our President is possibly going to be impeached by our Congress in just a few days. It would only be the 3rd time in the American history that it has happened following the impeachment of Presidents Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. Somehow impeaching the President at Christmas has left us in a troubling place in what is a normally supposed to be a joyful time. So it seems right now that the Grinch may be trying to steal Christmas, Ebenezer Scrooge is saying "Bah Humbug" and King Herod from the birth narrative of our Lord in Matthew 2 is attacking the children in Bethlehem again.

Now when you look at the current hatred toward our President, it seems to reflect the worst kind of political anger that has ever been directed toward a sitting President. There is nothing that is even close. The media and news cycles of the nation have been filled with this vitriol almost every day for the last 3 years. It is hurting and dividing all of us. People have been directing the worst kind of profanity against our President, both publically and privately, in an attempt to drive him from public office. Some have even threatened to kill him, while a few have carried out mock executions to make their point. It truly is an ugly time in America political discourse.
But if we step back for a moment and ask what President Trump has done to deserve all this hatred directed against him things start to get complicated. After all, if someone is deserving of such anger, rage and personal attacks there should be a corresponding long list of sins, criminal behaviors and violations of numerous laws and Constitutional standards, right? And yet, that is where we start to run into trouble. President Trump has been the most investigated President in American history and to date not a single, specific, clear law has been proven to have been broken or violated. As a case in point, the United States government, under the Justice Department, spent over 25 million dollars to pay for "The Mueller Report", a 448-page report designed to thoroughly investigate any possible violation of the law by the President. The report was released to the public and concluded, in very clear language, that the President was not guilty of any crime or in violation of any law or statute related to his office. This conclusion was very different from what the Constitution requires for a president to be impeached. For a president to be impeached the Constitution, in Section 2 article 4, requires the following,
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Since no such crimes have been proven or documented, at any level, it appears that the Christmas drama surrounding impeachment is nothing more than an ugly political battle to gain power and governmental control, not a heartfelt desire for justice for laws that were broken. Every American, whatever our political sympathies, should want real justice and should demand that elected officials be held accountable, including the President. No one is above the law, nor should any law be ignored. However, to attempt to judge any person solely based on political accusation and hatred, without specific laws and evidence to back it up, is itself wrong and should be criminally liable. Without such basic, legal standards being maintained the entire idea of justice on any level falls apart and our nation and lives are left to media manipulation, opinion, hearsay and mob rule. If our justice system is being run by the media, partisan politics and not law, then none  of us are safe today in our homes, churches or places of work.   Under such corruption, any one of us could be arrested, sued and/or prosecuted because someone in power simply "didn't like us".... for whatever reason.

Now when people decide to accuse others of crimes, without relying on specific laws and facts to make their case, they enter into what is referred to as "scapegoating." Psychologists have long known that scapegoating is an attempt to blame others for things that you may be guilty of that makes you feel better and helps with your agenda. Scapegoating is never done by sinless, innocent people that are seeking truth and justice for all. People that try to scapegoat others are never willing to look at themselves and their issues.  Can anyone honestly say that all the attacks, rage and anger directed at President Trump in the current impeachment drama is coming from sinless individuals that are politically righteous and morally upstanding? Sadly, it is just the opposite.

It may surprise people to learn that the scapegoating going on in Washington and our nation is really a hidden witness to Christmas and the real story of the Gospel. In this Christmas season, most people may have forgotten that Christmas is the story of finding a real scapegoat that can pay for all our sins and make God's legal system just and right for everyone.  The scapegoat was a central character in the Bible's story of Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16. The scapegoat's job was to receive the sins from the people of Israel once a year and take them away into the wildnerness.  The birth of the Lord Jesus Christ was and is the fulfillment of the scapegoat principle. Our Lord was born to take away the sins of us all and restore the world to unity, peace and love.

You see the Lord has a legal case against every one of us, whatever our politics. You might say all of us should be "impeached" for our sins and the way we have lived our lives.  All of us have sinned and broken God's laws and commandments that are written not just in the Bible, but on the human heart as well. The Lord has an airtight, legal case against all of us. Every person instinctively knows they have sinned, not just our politicians. But sin is not something we can handle on our own, so we find ways to project our sins onto others. But scapegoating others doesn't work and never solves anything. So in His love, God created another way to use the scapegoating principle by becoming our Scapegoat. The Bible explains the reality of our sin and the Lord's gracious solution for them as our Scapegoat in Romans 3:23-24.
... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ
When people finally come to understand they are sinners before a holy God, things begin to change. People begin to seek grace and forgiveness that is only found in the Babe in the Manger and His finished work on the Cross for sin. The real Scapegoat is finally found in our Lord's coming to save us. A scapegoat has nothing to do with politics. When we find God's scapegoat and give up blaming others, we are no longer filled with rage and anger toward anyone about anything. No longer do we seek to destroy people's lives out of desire to be in control of things or to gain power over others. We come to realize, in a life changing way, that God is in control of this world, not us. Instead, we are called to love, forgive and turn things over to the Lord for His final judgment and justice for every issue in life. No longer do we blame and scapegoat others for all our problems and sins. The Lord Jesus Christ directs us to deal with our own sins FIRST, before we ever point out the sins of others as we hear in Matthew 7:3-5,
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
As Christmas approaches this year, let's not allow anything to diminish the wonderful joy that we have found a Savior for our sin. We don't need to blame or hate others, accuse them or try to control them to have real joy in our lives. Our joy comes from finding a loving Scapegoat to take all our sins away, which reminds us that our Lord is in charge of the government of this world and the world to come. So, let's look to Bethlehem right now and not Washington or anywhere else.
Let's rejoice with all those who heard that angelic announcement the day our Lord Jesus was born,
An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
So Merry Christmas to all in this season of love, hope, peace and joy and to all a good night.