The Dark Side of Christmas

David Bast

READ : Matthew 2:12, 16-18

“A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation.” (v. 18)

The holidays can be tough on people. A season where everything is supposed to be merry and bright is too much for some hurting folks to bear. But the idea of Christmas as nothing but jollity is bogus. The Bible doesn’t tell that kind of story. In the Bible Christmas has a dark side. The air around Bethlehem is filled one moment with the sound of angels’ singing and the next with mothers’ weeping. The magi have scarcely left the scene before they are replaced by Herod’s blood-stained stormtroopers. It’s all there on the pages of the gospel: murderous rage, genocide, refugees fleeing for their lives.

The dark side of Christmas reminds us that the world into which the Savior was born was—and is—not a very nice place, which is why he had to enter it in the first place. Christmas has always been a story of conflict and contrast: good and evil, light and darkness, joy and grief, hope and despair.

The message of Christmas is not that there’s no reason to weep; there are plenty of reasons for weeping, as we all know. No, the message of Christmas is that because God has come into the world as one of us, now there is reason for comfort and joy as well.


O, tidings of comfort and joy—give thanks!