Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas 1a - Matthew 2:13-22

Herod, remembered by history as “the Great” for his architectural achievements, was also good at killing. His hit list included his first wife, his mother-in-law and two brother-in-laws, two sons by his first wife and numerous rabbis and priests and political rivals who got in his way. The slaughter of a few peasant children in a backwater town was hardly a stretch for Herod. In the end he pays a price for his cruelty dying a particularly nasty death described in great detail by the historian Josephus. But all that gives Herod more attention than he deserves. For all his scheming and evil acts the one child he intended to kill escapes. But what of Rachel’s weeping and loud lamentation? It is the lament sung throughout all of history and the Bethlehem babes are just one more example of innocent victims of violence beginning with Cain who kills his brother Abel out of envy. But that is precisely why the child is born and even though he escapes this time there will come a day when he will not and the babe of Bethlehem will be the man of Golgotha to take up the weeping that will not be consoled on behalf Rachel and her children, “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?” While not nearly as catchy as “Have a holly, jolly Christmas” the cry of Christ on Calvary is only thing that makes “Merry Christmas” possible.


  1. Where did the image of Rachel Weeping come from? Who is the artist?

  2. The artist is Hilary Sylvester: