“Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, ‘Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?’
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.’
“Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated. And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace. Because the king’s order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace.
“Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, ‘Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?’ They answered and said to the king, ‘True, O king.’ He answered and said, ‘But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.’
“Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, ‘Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!’ Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them. Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.’” (Daniel 3:13-28)
There are many different types of Christmas trees. Some are massive; others are tiny. Some have needles that are soft to the touch; others have thick branches that do a good job of holding heavy ornaments. And, of course, some are real, while others are artificial. Regardless of what kind of tree you have—Fir, Pine, Spruce, Cedar—when you look closely enough, you can always tell if it is real or fake.
In the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, King Nebuchadnezzar tried to convince them his god was a real god worthy of worship. He was angry because the men refused to give in. They even said they were willing to die before they would reject their God. The king’s god was just a large golden statue he made for himself. While it was foolish for anyone to bow down and worship a big statue, no one else was willing to die over it. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew their God was the only real God, and they put their faith in Him.
Every year, billions of people around the world celebrate Christmas, but not all for the same reasons. To many, it is all about presents, or parties, or time off from work and school. It’s easy to exchange the real reason for Christmas with something else that serves our own desires. Just like King Nebuchadnezzar, we are prone to put fake gods in place of the true, living God. But when the king saw the truth, he praised God and began telling others of how the Most High God had performed miraculous signs and wonders.
Christmas is more than just an opportunity for us to celebrate Jesus’ birth. We also get to share how God came to save us through Jesus. We can help other people exchange what they may believe is just a fun family time for the real reason we celebrate—the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior and King!
On your ornament today draw a fire to remind you that God has power over every hard thing in your life. He may not stop them from happening, but He will always be with you through them. As a family, brainstorm some “fake gods” that you might be tempted to put in front of the one true God. (Think sports, grades, jobs, appearance, etc.) Pray and ask God to help you worship Him alone, instead of things that can never save you.