Matthew 2:16-18 (CEV)
The Killing of the Children
16 When Herod found out that the wise men from the east had tricked him, he was very angry. He gave orders for his men to kill all the boys who lived in or near Bethlehem and were two years old and younger. This was based on what he had learned from the wise men.
17 So the Lord’s promise came true, just as the prophet Jeremiah had said,
18 “In Ramah a voice was heard
crying and weeping loudly.
Rachel was mourning
for her children,
and she refused
to be comforted,
because they were dead.”
Not the most pleasant of the Christmas passages! Certainly not one we include in our cute nativity tableaux…
Yet very much a reality of life, as much today as then.
Angry threatened men (and women) still take out their fear and their need to feel superior on the weak, the fragile and the vulnerable. People are still weeping. For their children, their community, their parents – people they don’t even know. Because suffering and destruction are their lot.
We hear a mothers cry. The raw emotion of Rachel. This is gritty reality.
There is no neat happy ending to this event. It is just left as it is. Platitudes do not help. Sometimes we need to sit with the pain, the questions, the feelings of hopelessness and the fury – even the thoughts that God has brought it all about. We weep with those who weep, because words are meaningless.
And yet…This is the world Jesus was born into. The world he still inhabits. That is the ending. God is here with us.
into the pain,
you were born.
Into a world
Little seems any different,
many feel lost,
whilst others bully,
and death – physical and emotional.
Into this world Lord,
bring your peace,
And equip me
to work with you.
Join us reading Walking Backwards to Christmas by Stephen Cottrell from SPCK Publishing this advent. Be part of #adventbookclub, share your thoughts here, on your own blog (and let us know we’ll link to it), on Twitter using #adventbookclub or on the Adventbookclub Facebook page