When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
‘A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.’
In wartime, everyone suffers. In times of conflict or oppression, those who suffer most are often those who are least able to fight back. Herod’s devastating decision wipes out a whole generation of young children who have no way to defend themselves. I can’t even begin to imagine the terrible agonies of their parents and families.
In some situations, all we can do is grieve with those who are grieving. In the face of such tragedy, there are no real answers and no easy words we can say. So often, as Christians, we want to offer hope and solutions, but sometimes such responses are simply inhumane. If it were not so, there would have been no need for the agonies of the Crucifixion and everything that entails. We are often too quick to seek the Resurrection before we have endured the dark night of Jesus’ death.
When tragedy occurs, sometimes the most prayerful response is tears cried before God and offered to Him in faith. Because God marks every tear and every sorrow of our hearts, and He is able to carry all our burdens through the sacrifice of our Lord on the cross.
Dear God, give us compassion to stand alongside those who suffer. Help us to listen to the quiet voices of need in those around us and to respond to them with the help of Your gracious and ever-loving Spirit. Amen.
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