Scriptures for December 26th: Isaiah 63:7-9; Psalm 148; Hebrews 2:10-18; Matthew 2:13-23 Theme: the story and the implications of the first Christmas
Hebrews: This book spells out what it means for us to have a savior who is incarnate (in the flesh). It gives all of the gory details of why we need a savior and why Jesus is that savior for us. But is also reminds us that even though we are grateful for the little baby in the manger; it is not just the fact that Jesus was born that saves us. We are saved through his suffering for us. In his suffering he atoned for all that we have done wrong, and he showed that he loved us unconditionally. In his suffering, he acknowledged that there would be some sort of suffering in all of our lives. If Jesus can endure the ultimate pain, we have an example to endure whatever life brings us. And we can still sing and celebrate that through Christ we are victorious through whatever it is.
Matthew : This is the painful story of the slaughter of the innocents. Joseph had another dream that in order to save the messiah, that he needed to get out of the country and protect his family. In the absence of the Holy Family, King Herod kills every boy under the age of 2. The world was still a dangerous place for the righteous. We can be happy that the Lord survived, but we must also mourn the loss of all of the other babies. But in God’s wisdom he made sure that the baby who would change everything lived and grew to be a grown man. The Lord works in mysterious ways in all of our lives – blessed be the name of the Lord!
Questions: Jesus is our priest, our brother, our partner, our savior – which image of Christ is most helpful to you right now? How does Jesus share in your suffering at this moment? How does Jesus help you overcome that suffering? Does the story of the innocent children killed make you happy or sad? Is there ever a real purpose in a baby dying? How does our faith help us understand the pain? What do we pray for to prevent this from happening again in our time?