Reading: Matthew 2:13-23
Verse 18: “A voice is heard… weeping and great mourning… refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”
Today the story of Jesus’ early days continues. Although Jesus and family flee to safety, many families are not so fortunate. As is still the case today, Jesus’ life is intertwined with ours. Herod, out of anger and fear, has all the baby boys under two killed in and around Bethlehem. This act fulfills a prophecy from Jeremiah 31 that, in part, speaks these words: “A voice is heard… weeping and great mourning… refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” Families and neighbors cry and grieve for the lost children. In their grief, God draws near.
Today in our world children are still the victims of senseless violence. Whether it is a school shooting or a bomb dropped on a neighborhood in Ukraine or gang violence in the city or another tragedy around our southern border, families and neighbors weep and mourn for lost children this very hour. Just as the people of Bethlehem refused to be comforted, so too do mothers, fathers, friends, and neighbors today. To shed tears is to remember, to honor, to celebrate a life. To mourn is the hold on. Weeping and mourning are part of the grief process. Our tears bring healing in time. Our tears are also a reminder of God’s presence with us.
When tears do not stop, when the pain does not cease, when sleep will not come, the only thing we can do is to hold onto God’s presence. There we can sense and feel God’s love for us, right there in our grieving. God is there and understands because Christ walked through the pain and sorrow and brokenness of this world. God is there with us. May we hold onto Immanuel, God with us.
Prayer: Lord God, comfort, o comfort all who are grieving and hurting. Be present to all who mourn, whatever the situation. Enter into their lives just as you entered into this world. Be present in the pain and sorrow. Pour out your love and tender, healing mercies. Bind up what the world has torn apart. And, Lord, lead me to offer presence and peace, comfort and strength, light and love to those who mourn and weep. Amen.