As my daughter once reminded me, after a long ago now forgotten Christmas Eve service, we cannot avoid the fact that the Christmas story begins and ends in a death sentence—at every turn someone wants Jesus dead.
Yet, we have so tamed the original (Matthew and Luke) story and have made it more palatable to fit on a Hallmark card or as background muzak for our Christmas season shopping experience at all the big box stores stores.
There is lament blended with the angelic choir declaring peace and joy; and, it is only through this lament (found in Mary’s song and in Rachel’s cry) that this joy and peace may come. Or, found in that all too easily passed over lamentful promise to Mary by Simeon, the old man in the temple after Jesus’ circumcision, who said,
“Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed—and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34-35)
Think more deeply about Christmas.