The Slaughter of the Innocents

Matthew 2:16-18
“Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its environs, from two years old and under, according to the time from which he had ascertained from the magi. Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled, saying,
A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be comforted, because they were no more.”

It’s as much a part of the Christmas story as the visit of the Magi, yet you will probably never see this gory scene depicted on a Christmas card. We have whitewashed over this horrific detail of the Christmas story, and in so doing, we have forgotten something essential about why Christ came.

We live in a world at war. Cosmic forces of evil have been inspiring inhuman acts of violence from the time that Cain killed Able. But God is not sitting idly by, watching with a sense of detachment or resignation. He sent His own Son to be born into a world where babies are senselessly murdered by enraged despots because He intended to do away with such pain and suffering forever.

Through Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, God triumphed over the devil and over death, making a way for human beings to be reconciled to Himself and giving us an eternal hope stronger than the grave. Those who put their faith in Christ can have the certain hope of a life forever in the presence of God, where He will one day wipe away every tear from our eyes and forever restore to us loved ones who have been torn from our embrace by death. Christ said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die.” John 11:25-26a

In this tragic time, we would do well to remember that this truly is the reason for the season.

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