Matthew 2: 13 – 18
“When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”[c]
16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
18 “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”
So, that’s the portion of Scripture my son and I read last night.But we read it in The Bible Story (http://www.amazon.ca/Bible-Story-Complete-10-Set/dp/B0007FAVXO/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1355434300&sr=8-12) and something about the re-telling, the explanations for the children pierced my very soul.
How is possible that all these years of reading these Christmas stories and I’ve never really seen THIS… “kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under”
Of course, I’ve thought of Jospeh’s dream and the angel’s warning, and of the wild fleeing through the night to Egypt. I have thought of Jesus’ escape, but never of those families that did not know to flee.
All those murdered babies. All the weeping, the mourning.
Not such a Merry Christmas for those mommas and dads.
So I was wondering how to explain this to my wide-eyed nine year old.
And then, to be perfectly honest, I was wondering how to explain it to myself.
Why was there no angelic visitor to warn the families whose babies died that night?
Life is really hard? Unfair?
Sometimes bad things happen to good people?
Sometimes the angel doesn’t come?
God had another plan?
I honestly don’t have the right answers for this.
And yet, I have found myself thinking over and over this Christmas season about the name of Christ…Immanuel, GOD WITH US.
And perhaps it’s good that the Christmas story is quite messy. It feels a bit more like real life that way.
Bad things do happen. It rains on the just and the unjust alike. We all go through situations that seem unfair, wrong, all messed up. We wonder where God is in our pain, in our mourning, in our questioning.
He has provided the ultimate answer…He is God with us.
Maybe you feel hounded by your own crazy Herod right now or maybe you’ve outrun him for the time being, but this much I know…God is with you, right where you are, right now.
Oh, thank you, Jesus.