Sanitizing the Christmas Story

Adam Navis

READ : Matthew 2:13-18

Herod . . . became furious . . . and killed all the male children in Bethlehem. (v. 16)

The Christmas story contains so many nice parts. There are angels and shepherds, wise
men and their gifts, a baby and a promise. Over time we have added even more nice things
to our Christmas celebrations: stockings hanging from the mantel, singing carols, ringing
bells and lighting trees, cookies and candy canes and presents galore. So we might prefer
to gloss over this part of the Christmas story, traditionally called, “The Slaughter of
the Infants.”

Still, it is an important part of the way Christ comes into the world. Not only does
this foreshadow Christ’s own death-in-innocence, but it also speaks to us today. Is there
anything more horrible than the abduction and murder of children? Just as Christ entered
the world during a time of, “weeping and loud lamentation” so too does Christ enter into
the pain of our lives.

The gospel is not an easy balm that denies the pain of life. Christ knows the depths of
our pain and touches us where we hurt the most, at that place where we too, “refuse to be
comforted, because they are no more.”

PRAYER

Lord, fill our hearts even as they are filled with pain.