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When Our Blessed Lord came to earth, it was not to do anything except engage the enemy for our benefit, to show us how precious we are in the sight of the Father and to trample the serpent underfoot who wants to deprive us of Our Father's affections. So Christmas, although not usually understood in this manner, is all about conflict, the fight. And when we understand it's about conflict, we begin to recognize the inborn conflict immediately.
For example, if you look at the Church's liturgy the week of Christmas, we see the feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr. We see the day dedicated to the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem. It's not by accident Holy Mother Church holds out those days to us. They are reminders of the reality of the conflict. Even the Christ Child Himself, the King of Kings, finds myrrh among His eventual Christmas presents.
One eventual and somewhat obvious reminder of the Christmas conflict is that Heaven itself announces the conflict almost immediately after Our Lord is born. The angel tells the shepherds "Peace on earth to men of good will." That is language of division. Heavenly peace cannot descend on those who do not have good will. Those missing good will, belong to the serpent and are incapable of receiving the gift of heavenly peace.
King Herod comes to mind, of course, almost instantly. We need to be certain that we have no trace of Herodian bad will in us, else Heaven cannot works its way with us. There are certainly those of bad will walking around today, just as there were back in Bethlehem and Jerusalem and Judea when Our Lord was born. We need to examine first ourselves and then the world in search of bad will. Bad will must be confronted and exposed and defeated. Its presence is a block to heavenly light coming to the earth.
What is bad will as opposed to the good will the angel sang about to the shepherds? Ultimately, it is that which frustrates God's plan for man. Of course, God being God can use the effects of ill will or bad will to still work His way. But He does not override any man's free will in order to accomplish His will. He simply incorporates it into His own Divine will. But what of the man who by his own free will is possessed of bad will or ill will? Dying in such a state, he is damned. And we know the society of the damned exists, because Our Blessed Lord Himself told us so.
Christmas is all about the revelation of the conflict, the seeing of it, the coming to light of it. The serpent has been coiled up under the table of human history — and crashing into history to shed heavenly light on this fact comes the King of Heaven. Those who are of good will will by their free will both recognize and respond to this great gift of the Father. Those who are of ill will or bad will will by their free will resist this great gift and make war against it.
And this includes members of the Church. Judas should come to mind and his many descendants in the ranks of the clergy, both past and present. Just as both Judas and Herod — two exemplars of bad will — used sweet talk and high-sounding causes to try and mask their evil designs, so we today have people emplying the same tactics. Herod feigned worship of the newborn King while he held murder in his heart. Judas made a false appeal on behalf of the poor while he was stealing and plotting betrayal.
Not one single Catholic should peer into the reality of affairs in the Church today and see anything differently. Churchmen who lie and distort the teachings of the Babe with regard to sexuality, sacraments and so forth — these are men who do not possess good will. They not only deprive themselves of Heaven, they seek to deprive you and your loved ones of Heaven in the process.
They must be resisted, fought at every step. They want to destroy Heaven's plan for you, for your loved ones, the gift our Heavenly Father has prepared for you — just as Herod so desired, just as Judas so desired. Christmas is about conflict. It's about resistance. It's about recognizing the need to fight.
When you kneel at the creche in your parish this Christmas, pray that the Infant King will inspire in you the grace of resisting those who seek to thwart Heaven's plan. Ask for this grace, this gift, from Heaven. And in return, your gift can be that when you return to the creche next year, you will be able to lay your blood-stained sword at the feet of the Christ Child and present yourself to Him as a slayer of dragons.
Our Blessed Lord said He had not come to bring peace but the sword. That comment is aimed squarely at those incapable of receiving His peace because they do not possess good will. How much deep truth is contained in those passing words of the angel! "Peace on earth to men of good will."
From all of us here at ChurchMilitant.com and our sister organization St. Michael's Media, a very Holy and Happy Christmas and our prayers that all of us and all of you be men of good will. Merry Christmas.