Did you do a double-take?
We normally hear "let's put Christ back into Christmas." But Herod?
Some time ago I read J. Richard Middleton's "Let's Put Herod back into Christmas." I think he's right on point.
This is a meditation on Matthew 2:1-23, an appropriate reading for the Christmas season.
"Wait a minute! Have you read verse 16?"
"Well, yes, as a matter of fact. That's Middleton's point, and mine."
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. (Matthew 2:16 NIV)
What have we done?
Some of the things we can say about the way most of us celebrate Christmas is that it is flattened, sanitized, commercialized, and emasculated. In the same way colorful eggs and a fluffy Easter Bunny are allowed to hijack the event of Jesus being raised from the dead, evergreen trees and a jolly overweight old guy in a red suit are superimposed over the event of Jesus being born.
By contrast, Matthew places Jesus as a vulnerable infant in the harsh reality of 1st Century Palestine. This connects with the world in which most live.
Read Middleton's article. It calls us back to reality.
And after you’ve read it, think about it.
How does the harsh reality of Matthew’s record connect us to the real world, real people – and the real Jesus?
Until next Friday,
John, a brother
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