By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land? …O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us— he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks. –Psalm 137
A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more. –Matthew 2:18
It is the season of joy and anticipation. The Christmas spirit fills the air. Joy to the world, the Lord has come! All so very true, and so very important. We know the angel’s words by heart, and they should fill us with awe and thanksgiving: Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord…Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased! But the good news, we now know, was followed by some very sad news. Those in positions of power in first-century Roman Palestine would not allow a king to enter into their world easily. Some would have to die. In the midst of great joy…sorrow and anguish. It is the story of our lives, even at Christmas. Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing! (2 Cor. 6:10)
We know the names of some of the children who died in Indianapolis by tragic causes. We likely do not know, however, the names of the four and six year-old brother and sister killed this week by a driver racing through a miniature golf course in Florida, or the five year-old boy killed by his uncle in Ohio, or the hundreds of children serving as sex-slaves across our nation, or the 120 children snuffed out this week by abortion right here in Indiana. Children are being mistreated all around us, and some are dying.
The saddest news is simply this; it has been happening not for years, not for hundreds of years, but for thousands of years. We humans have a habit of killing children, the most innocent of our race, much to the delight of our enemy. I quoted part of Psalm 137 above to demonstrate that the art of destroying children has been around for a very long time. This is known as one of the "Imprecatory Psalms." These are Psalms in which the author calls down curses upon the enemies of Israel and her God, sometimes in incredibly violent and graphic ways. The Babylonians had overrun Israel as God's tool of punishment against his disobedient people, but they had relished the task and had taken glee in destroying the next generation of Israelites by killing their children and their pregnant women. Horrible…disgusting…despicable — yet so very real. The verse above from Matthew 2 most know. King Herod, in order to secure hold on his own little part of the world, ordered the deaths of every male child two years old and under in and around Bethlehem when he learned of Jesus’ birth. One more graphic example of human depravity and Satan’s frantic attempt to destroy the Messiah before his life-saving work could begin.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Matthew 5:9). Christians are called to be different — to be distinct — to be a light on a hill. As we rejoice in this season, and rightfully so, do not forget that the greatest event in human history brought not only great joy, but also great suffering. It is part of our experience in this fallen world. Use this information to remind yourself that we are called to care for the innocent and the most vulnerable as Christ-followers — widows, orphans, children, and those with special needs. Let’s show that we love Jesus by demonstrating love to those whom God calls us to protect.
Grace and peace,