Matthew 2:13-18
When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
“A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”

This has always been a troubling bit of scripture to me. Just this mention of male babies being killed in a futile attempt to destroy Jesus, is awful to contemplate. But it brings a gravity to a situation that can sometimes be taken lightly, or cute, even. The wise men, bearing gifts, kneeling to the Christ Child. I mean, it’s a beautiful scene, but sometimes familiarity can cause me to lose the meaning.

But here is a reminder of true grief, pain, injustice, and evil. The political climate into which Jesus was born was certainly ugly. And the Jewish people must have felt so desperate. And the messiah they longed for would surely deliver them from this! And yet. This baby. Their deliverance did not come in the form of a change of circumstances. It did not instantly right all the wrongs. And yet. He came for a purpose, and he won the ultimate battle. As C.S. Lewis described – the deep love of an innocent one being killed in place of the guilty is so powerful, that death itself begins to work backwards. (Seriously paraphrased from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe).

What a reminder. Our circumstances are so varied, I know, and some of them are so difficult. And yet. This baby. He came out of his love for us. And death has begun to work backwards. We have such hope in knowing that the task had been completed, and though deliverance doesn’t always come in the way we want it, or look how we expect, it has come. Thank God!

Lord Jesus, the depths of your love for us are beyond our comprehension, but this story gives us a window. Thank you for your complete sacrifice, and the reordering of everything that is wrong. Help us to lean on you in this season, and every season. You are our help. Thank you! Amen.

Author: Emily Costa