Like many, after the horrific incident in Connecticut, I’ve had a hard time even thinking about Christmas. As I cried and prayed I was reminded of the part of the Nativity narrative that is rarely quoted. Matthew 2:16 tells of another madman who slaughtered children.
“Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.”
It is such a disturbing passage that I could barely stand to read it in the pas,t but now it seems we are all living it. I’ve been taken by the thought that the writer of Ecclesiastes was right, there really is nothing new under the sun. Although there is little that can bring comfort, there is something hopeful about the fact that this very painful, and often violent world, is the very world that Jesus was born into. As horrible and unsettling as these things are, He was born into just such a place, and came to declare The Good News that God is with us.
That is what I cling to…the presence of God. He didn’t leave us here alone. He is with us. He came from His place of perfect peace to bring the Kingdom of God close to this place that is in so much need of peace. My prayer for the families who are hurting this season and for all of us is that we would know that God is Emmanuel. He is near. He is with us.
“But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.”