This, as every post in this series, was written ahead of time and scheduled to be posted on the appropriate day. I wrote this particular piece by the light of my Christmas tree at 4:30am on December 14th,2012. Little did I know that only five hours later, another slaughter of the innocents would take place in Sandy Hook Elementary School. My heart breaks for the families of the lost and my prayers are lifted to heaven on their behalf. Who can provide comfort in such devastation but God alone? I am so thankful that God sent His Son into our brutality to redeem us. The day is coming when the Prince of Peace will return and all will be made new. In that day, the nations will “beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks” (Isaiah 2:4). With all the faithful I cry, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus.”
This post is dedicated to the families of the lost…
It is the sudden shattering of the night, the vulnerability of a home invaded. It is the blinding torch light piercing the darkness as hearts pound and children are instinctively drawn close. It is the brief moment stretched long by adrenaline. It is every detail before the eyes slipping into razor acuity while the brain falters to understand what it sees.
Why are they here?
It is the strong-arm of the oppressor reaching for what is most precious. It is a mother’s scream, a baby boy’s terrified cry, and a weaponless father throwing himself against the threat to no avail. It is the flash of a sword, the smell of blood, and loss neither the mind nor heart can bear. It is the moment of silence when they are gone as the mother gathers the body of her baby in her arms.
It is the wail that pierces the stillness. Growing, growing, growing…home to home throughout Bethlehem as tragic ancient prophesy is 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.
Herod’s slaughter of the baby boys in Bethlehem was both strategic and rage filled. Matthew 2:16 says he was “furious” when he realized he had been outwitted by the wise men. So, subtly was off the agenda. Cruel efficiency and blind terror were the plan. Due to Bethlehem’s size, there were most likely around twenty children involved, but what a terrible, traumatizing loss for a community.
It is difficult to wrap our minds around such brutality. How much more beyond our understanding to consider that God knew the depths of our cruelty and depravity, yet sent His son in complete vulnerability to redeem it. He could have looked down on the horrors of human history- the countless acts of butchery, torture, rape, and terror, and quite reasonably considered us a lost cause. Who could have blamed the One who had witnessed every act of brutality if He had sent a cleansing fire and just…started over?
But He didn’t. Instead, He lay aside His glory and wrapped Himself in humanity. He would ransom our savagery by allowing it to wash over Him in its fullness on the cross.
Oh, what a Savior.