Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, "Out of Egypt I have called my son."
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."
- The story is a true story. By that I don't mean that it actually happened, although it may have, but that it is a story that reveals to us something that is true. In this case, what we see is that tyrants will stop at nothing to hold on to power.
- Power is seductive. While we may set out to use the legitimate power that we have for good, we can be tempted to use it to impose our notion of what is good on everyone else.
- People in power - and that may mean all of us to some extent - don't have to commit murder in order to cause suffering and death for others. We can do that by simple neglect. It is no wonder that the title of Jonathan Kozol's book about homeless families in America is Rachel and Her Children.
When the song of the angels is silent
When the star in the sky is gone
When the kings and princes are home
When the shepherds are again tending their sheep
When the manger is darkened and still
The work of Christmas begins --
To find the lost
To heal the broken
To feed the hungry
To rebuild the nations
To bring peace among people
To befriend the lonely
To release the prisoner
To make music in the heart.