The horrific atrocity in the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut on Friday morning December14th has gripped our hearts. How could a young man from such an idyllic neighborhood commit such a terrible, senseless crime? How could he gun down 20 defenseless first graders and their loving teachers so cruelly and heartlessly? Most saw it as even more tragic because it happened near Christmas which is usually a happy time of family celebration and is especially exciting for children. I think there is a part of the true Christmas story that can inform us and encourage us as we contemplate this atrocity. The slaughter of the innocent children in Bethlehem by a brutal, heartless tyrant is a part of the Christmas story that never makes it into our pageants but is nevertheless part of the Biblical record. The Magi found out where the child was to be born, then they find Him and worship Him leaving the family with expensive gifts. God then warns the family and the Magi to flee because Herod’s intent is to kill this would be “King of the Jews”.
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. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: "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." Matt 2:16-18