At Christmas time many will go to Christmas Eve Services and focus on the baby Jesus. We have a peaceful, calm experience and leave with a special feeling. That is wonderful, but how many of us leave remembering the passion involved even surrounding the birth of Jesus. Mary and Joseph had to seek shelter in a stable. Jesus was born where animals were housed. One aspect of the WHOLE Christmas saga that I was reflecting upon today is the fact that Mary and Joseph had to hurriedly flee Bethlehem because Herod’s soldiers were seeking to kill the baby Jesus.
The angel came to Joseph in a dream and warned him to get up, take Mary and the baby Jesus and get out of town fast because the King’s soldiers were coming. Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt and lived there until they were told it was safe to return due to Herod’s death. Herod did in fact send his troops into Bethlehem and the cruel and sadistic soldiers killed every male baby and toddler. It was a horrific scene and the bible speaks of the cries of the mothers “”A voice in heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning. Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because they are no more.” Evil was seeking to kill Jesus even when He was a baby and evil savagely killed all of the boys 2 and under. That is why the angel told Joseph and take Mary and Jesus and get out NOW.
As I thought about this today, I also thought about the refugees that I work with and how they too had to flee evil. Refugees from Sudan who fled to refugee camps in Kenya or Ethiopia to escape government troops trying to kill them. I thought about refugees from Burma who fled to Thailand and had kids. Most of the young ones under 25 never even saw their homeland because they were born in refugee camps. Those who fled to escape Sadaam in Iraq. the list goes on and on.
Suffering has gone on for a long time. Even in the danger of the first Christmas, there was hope. Hope because Jesus came to bring us hope and to bring us back to God. His birth did not end the evil and suffering, not yet anyway, but His birth did bring God to us and began the process by which God will one day bring His kingdom to earth and there will be no more suffering. Until then or for what time I have left here, my desire is to bring His love to those who have suffered.