Summary: How do we celebrate Christmas when we face tragedies in life?
Celebrating Christmas when Tragedy Strikes!
The birth of Christ did not eliminate Evil
The birth of Christ provides hope for eternity
The birth of Christ provides Comfort through his presence
Christmas is one week out. For some, the excitement of gift giving, of gathering with family and friends is exhilarating. Those who find it exhilarating usually are those who love to decorate the house, buy gifts, plan get togethers. The holidays are a glorious time of excitement.
For others, this season can produce great stress. The list of things to do and people to buy for can be stressful in itself, but then add to that the financial strains of gift giving and things can become truly depressing for some.
Add to those usual culprits of holiday depression a tragic event that has occurred in their life, such as a job loss, or bad news about the health of a loved one or even the death of a loved one, that holiday depression can easily turn into despair.
How will a person ever be able to celebrate Christmas again, when they have some big tragedy now associated with Christmas?
Turn with me to Matthew 2:13-23
We are going to see if we can learn from the tragedies that happened around the time of the birth of Christ and occurred as a result of His birth and try to understand these in such a way that will help us keep a proper focus at Christmas so we can truly celebrate Christmas even when tragedy strikes.
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him."
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."
16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
18 "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."
19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead."
21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene."
In this story, we find out just how evil Herod is. To maintain his throne and his power and to wipe out even a potential threat to his rule, he orders that all the boys 2 years old and younger in Bethlehem, be killed.
He doesn’t care that these are innocent children. The only thing he cares about is eliminating the one born “King of the Jews.”
Arguably the most glorious time in history, the birth of the Savior into the world, which is announced by angels and honored by Kings, being marred by this most evil of tragedies.
How could this happen?
Well, if we are going to truly recognize and celebrate some of the things that the birth of Jesus into the world accomplished or God at least put into motion, it is important that we understand truth recognizing some things it did as well as did not do. The problem is that we sometimes believe things about what the birth of Christ accomplished that are not true, and it can negatively affect our entire life.
So the first truth we need to realize is that
The Birth of Christ did not eliminate evil in the world
The event of the deaths of these children in Bethlehem is a clear example that evil is still in the world. Satan continues to operate and people continue to reject God and pursue evil.
This act is evil pure and simple. I can’t even imagine what these parents and the people of this village are experiencing.