Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”
- Matthew 2:16 – 18
Jesus has come. A great light has entered our world. God has announced his intentions to push back the darkness. To make things right. To undo Satan, sin and death.
But shortly after God’s light comes into our world, darkness seems to overwhelm it. All the baby boys in Bethlehem are killed and an untold number of moms weep over the senseless death of their sons. They refuse to be comforted and their story is one of weeping, longing, and loud lamenting.
I wonder how the moms in Bethlehem felt about God’s promises to them. How many of them stopped believing? How long was their lamenting? Did any of them open themselves up to comfort? Did any of them believe again in God’s promises to them?
The lost boys of Bethlehem tell us something about what life is like for those of us in waiting.
Life is a journey of faith, where we are asked to believe in what we do not yet see. Our Savior has come, but the story is not finished. Yes, peace may rest in our hearts, but there isn’t peace in our world. Jesus’ first coming tells us that the end of all things is near but it doesn’t tell us that the end is here.
So on this side of eternity, all the promises of Christmas remain promises. They are things we hope for – things that most certainly will come, but things that are definitely not yet here.
All of this is to say, there will be moments when the darkness seems to surge. There will be moments when what we see tempts us to doubt and disbelieve. There will be times when we will mourn like the moms of Bethlehem.
And in these moments, we must remember that we are not at the end of the story. If this were the end, we would have good reason to refuse comfort and resign ourselves to a life of lamenting. But we aren’t at the end. We are just near the end.
So until Jesus comes back, remember that death, darkness, sorrow, and sin will be part of your story.
And in your times of mourning, remember that one day Jesus will set things right. One day he will finish what he started. One day he will bring new life to what has died in your life. One day he will find all that has been lost. God’s promises never fail and the Promised One never disappoints. So hold on till the end of the story.