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Pastor David Loeschen
Our Savior Lutheran Church
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Pastor David Loeschen
Jessica Long

Hope in the face of Horror

 

It is hard to describe the carnage. Young children slaughtered mercilessly. Instead of a time of joy and celebration, now it is a time of grief and suffering. The shepherds had told anyone and everyone who would listen about the amazing things that they had seen and heard. The visitation of sages from the east added to the local buzz about the events unfolding in their midst. There was an air of wonder and anticipation in and around Bethlehem. But that was soon shattered by the wailing of parents and the shock and outrage of the area community at the heartless decree of King Herod that all the male children 2 years of age or under were to be killed. Herod, troubled about the word that he had received about one born King of the Jews and having been tricked by the wise men, who were suppose to report back after finding the child, but instead left the area by another route; sent his soldiers to slaughter the little ones in a vain attempt to kill Jesus. (Matthew 2:7ff)

 

We can hardly imagine what the days and weeks would have been like in Bethlehem after Herod's men left. We are appalled that someone could actually do something like that. We find our sensibilities once again astounded by the events that recently took place in Connecticut. The celebration of this festive time of year was marred by the chilling and senseless murder of 26 people by a cold and calculating killer, 20 of those being little children. As we peer into the face of evil, we are reminded that God sent His Son into the world in order to assure us that evil will not have the final say. Already we are hearing testimonies of faith and trust in the living God coming out of that devastating event. We may not be able to make sense of the bold and blatant horror of evil acts, but we are able to cling to sure and certain promises that in the most outrageous circumstances God is able to bring good according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) His purpose is finally and ultimately eternal life to a fallen and sinful human race.

 

According His plan, Jesus' parents were able to flee before the onslaught of Herod. The young boys of Bethlehem die, but Jesus escapes. He escapes death by the weapons of Herod's henchman, that later He might die on the cross for all sinners, even ones so cruel as Herod and as young as the little ones from Newtown, Connecticut and the infants in Bethlehem. Jesus sacrificed His life in order to pay the price to buy us back from sin, death and the power of the devil. The focus of the Church's celebration this time of year comes into even greater clarity in the midst of horrific events. Jesus said: "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)




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