Beginning the walk through the Gospels with Matthew 1-2
There is a ton in these two chapters from the genealogy of Jesus (which includes some really fascinating people) to the prophecy to Joseph, the birth of Jesus, the visit of the Magi, the escape to Egypt, the slaughter of the innocent children, and the family’s return from Egypt. What really struck me as I read through it this morning was the contrast between the story of life in chapter 1 (with the genealogy and the birth of Jesus) to chapter 2’s telling of the slaughter of the innocents. In just three verses (2:16-18), there is a story that is unbelievably horrific and heartbreaking. We talk today about the horrors that we see in the world today and yet here is a story that we have in our holy Scriptures that is as horrific as just about anything we hear about today.
The contrast was in my heart and mind as I went for a hike today and I sat down at a bench that I had passed many times before. I sat down just to rearrange something in my camera backpack and then saw this dedication plaque. I don’t know who Amanda Nicholson was, but she lived just 6 days in 1974. I cannot imagine the heartbreak of her parents to have this little life come to them only to have her gone just six short days later. I can only imagine what the mothers and fathers of the children in and around Bethlehem were feeling as the horrors unfolded around them.
In our world today, this story has been repeated many times over, whether it be in Germany 60+ years ago, Cambodia in the 70s and 80s, Bosnia in the 90s, Rwanda, Congo, end here in our country as well.
Its a heartbreaking beginning to the story – a reminder of one of the many reasons Jesus needed to come – the things that we humans have always done to one another.