Matthew 2 16-18
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:
“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.”[d]
When I take a moment to imagine this horrific event, to picture in my mind’s eye the awful scenes across Bethlehem, and the heart-rending sounds, I am brought close to tears. Even as I’m writing this I can barely read those words, “they are no more” without welling up. You don’t have to have young children to feel the tragedy of this senseless atrocity. But if you do have little children, its impact is far too close to home to bear dwelling on, for too long.
As I reflected on these verses, I was unexpectedly struck with this thought: This actually describes what Christmas is all about! I know that sounds crazy, but stick with me, because what else happened as this part of the Nativity unfolded? One escapes. One child made it out, alive.
As darkness descended on Bethlehem, there was the tiniest pinprick of light that could not be extinguished.
For many Christmas is not a happy time. Actually forget December, for some the whole year feels like a time of sadness! For others, as they look at news from around the globe and locally, it can feel like the world is a dark place. But this is the message of Christmas: Though there is darkness, there is also light and there is always hope.
In John 8:12 Jesus described himself as the light of the world, the light in the darkness, and if we follow him we can have that wonderful light in our lives. The light and hope that dispels darkness. That’s why Christmas is worth celebrating.