So the expression for today is "do not put the empha'sis on the wrong sylla'ble"! Our first example of this comes from Numbers 21:4-9. The people of Israel on their second trip around the desert were murmuring and complaining about every thing, the food, the conditions, etc.etc. This angered God and He sent venomous snakes into their midst. The snakes bit many of them and they died. The people,seeing that they had sinned, asked Moses to speak to God asking Him to remove the snakes. God told Moses to make a bronze serpent and put it on a pole. If a person was bitten by a snake and he obeyed God by looking up at the bronze serpent, he would not die. The people obeyed by faith what God said, and they, having been bitten, looked at the serpent and did not die.
In 2 Kings 18:1-6 Hezekiah, a good king who obeyed God, came to the throne at age 25 and ruled for 29 years. He began his reign with many actions one of which was to break into pieces the bronze serpent which Moses made so many years previously.because the people were burning incense (i.e. worshiping) to it. They had made an idol of the serpent worshiping it, rather than God who graciously provided it. This focus was wrong.
Another modern day example of distorted focus is found in the celebration of Halloween. All "hallowed" eve was the night before all Saints Day. Originally, believers prepared for the day to honor the sacrifice of the saints by lighting fires and wearing masks the night before to come against the forces of evil. That practice has now been distorted as now in the celebration of Halloween, the "honor" is not given to the saints but to the forces of evil that were being resisted. Now we celebrate the witches, ghosts goblins, evil objects completely the opposite of the original focus.
We are made aware of the distortion of misdirected "honor" as we presently see people worshiping "Mother Earth". As in Romans 1, they are found to be worshiping the creature rather than the Creator. Another wrong focus.
We find many "distortions" or wrong focus when we look at the present celebration of Christmas. We have moved from Jesus being the reason for the season, His incarnation, God born in the flesh, and His being Immanuel, God with us to the enslaught of shopping, frantically buying gifts, tinsel on the tree, let alone Santa Claus! The empha'sis is on the wrong sylla'ble! Many have removed the reason for the season!
So, as Hezekiah redirected the people of Israel to refocus on God, not the idolatrous bronze serpent, so we should encourage all to come back to the original reason for the season: JESUS being born...Immanuel..God with us!