When Herod knew the magi had fooled him, he grew very angry. He sent soldiers to kill all the children in Bethlehem and in all the surrounding territory who were two years old and younger, according to the time that he had learned from the magi. Matthew 2:16 CEB
In spite of my love of all things sparkly during the Christmas season, I find myself staring at verse sixteen and wondering how we landed on the unfettered expectations of peace on earth, goodwill to men. The reality of this story is stark and challenging. Jesus was saved and that’s awesome; he received great gifts and who would begrudge his receiving? But a bunch of other mommy and daddys lost their children who were two years old and younger for the sole reason that Herod wanted Jesus disposed of pronto. Nadia inspired me to consider that Herod and his evil ways are as necessary to the story of Christmas as the crèche. Jesus continues to engage in a world that is disheartened and disheartening – it is today as it was in days of old. How can we use Christmas as an excuse to escape from tough truths without dishonoring the sacrifices these families made? This holiday season, can we enjoy the tinsel without pretending that everything in life glitters? We don’t need to ask our families to be different for the sake of an image of what we hoped our life would become because the light of God’s love shines even on Uncle Lenny. God does messy and we can too!