Weep for the Children
By David Brock of Redmond, OR, USA
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.” —Matthew 2:16–18 NRSV
The newborn is being passed around at church today. Held tightly and made over until we are forced to surrender him to the next pair of eagerly outstretched arms. During worship, he garners attention the preacher hoped just once to claim for herself. But she understands how much joy rides with this new life amid the community. She’s a little distracted herself!
Let the new arrivals cry during class today. Let them steal the show. They ARE the show! Stare at their tiny, fitly-framed fingers and toes. Pass them around and pledge to protect them…forever. Bless them in sacrament. Proclaim them to be holy and worthy…as well as cute.
Shoot a hundred photos and sneak a selfie with them. Pronounce their whole names and share vital statistics—pounds and ounces, kilos and grams, height, color of eyes. Say, “Has his mother’s eyes, his father’s chin.” Give them clothes that won’t fit for a year, books that won’t be understood for three.
It’s the Sunday after Christmas, and we are misty-eyed with the hope and promise of this new child. We could weep for joy. But, if something happened to this child, we’d be devastated. We’d be Rachel, weeping in Ramah. We’d be inconsolable. Not just the parents, but all of us. Even God. No one could comfort us. No one!
And because we value this child so much, we are more attuned to the sound of God weeping “for the poor, displaced, mistreated, and diseased of the world” who unnecessarily suffer. Because we love this child so deeply, we promise today to respond to “the pleading of mothers and fathers in all nations who desperately seek a future of hope for their children.”
Hold all the children close today. We’re all part of the holy family. We’re Mary. We’re Joseph. This child and every child is Jesus with us on this first Sunday after Christmas.
May I see your light in all life.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Light of God
Close your eyes, and become centered with your breath. As you breathe gently in and out, reflect on the statement, “The light of God is in all things.” The light has a bright, soft beauty and radiates God’s healing love. The light of God reaches you and permeates you with a deep sense of peace. Rest in the light as it surrounds and fills you. Thank God that you live in God’s light, and it lives in you.