It is a horrible thing. Herod was extremely paranoid. We can read about it in the history books. (Google it.) There are many people who don't want to see the Gospel accounts as historical, but there is so much material that corroborates them. One of the circumstances happens to be Herod's insanity. Read about it. He killed his own family members. But God has the matter in hand. It is a wonder, indeed.
But for me, right after Christmas comes the anniversary of the fatal accident of my then 18-year old son. The tragedy lies back six years now, and we have grown somewhat accustomed to it, as much as one can. But still the season is hard. And today is hard. Life has not been the same since and in a way, the death of our son has changed an incredible number of things. It has aged us. It has, also, made me feel isolated. I have not talked about this much, because I can't see how I can talk about it and not make everyone feel bad, but maybe I need to do it more.
And then you wonder: if God protects Jesus but not the innocents in Bethlehem, if he has angels that manage this circumstance and not another, how do we deal with that?
I have kept two Bible passages in view:
"Lord to whom shall we go; you have the words of eternal life."-- Truly, there is no place else to go. I will not have Satan rob me of my faith, while I have been deprived of my child. Many people are deprived of many things. We loose much along the journey. We desire things and can't have them. We have what we have. And we don't have what we don't have. We can and should pray. The pain is part of the process. We have to learn. God knows all about pain.
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
We have this verse on a plaque on the fireplace mantle. It keeps up my faith in the ways of God. We have a hope and a future in Him. Every day is new, and every day we have hope. But part of me struggles. Some other things have not worked out, and I am sad about it.
Awful things happen.
If it has not happened to you, yet, be grateful, and understanding of others. There is pain that is beyond telling.
John the Baptist was beheaded, and Jesus was crucified. Anything can happen to anyone. But the crucifixion was also Christ's glory. Only in dying can we be raised again. It is so hard. Don't be surprised when it happens to you.
--When I was younger I had a poster. I wish I had it now. Maybe it is on Google images. On it, there was a huge, gnarled tree--huge--with a little hut at the bottom. There was a saying about that old, gnarled tree and how it had the capacity to give shelter. I liked that, even when I was young. If needed, I wanted to be that big, gnarled tree.
That is not the picture because the tree is too small.
Then there is the simple picture I drew several posts back. I added the words: "Planted by the water. Psalm 1" The tree can flourish by the water of God's word and promises. There is rest. There is growth. It takes time. A tree takes a long, long time. A tree stands in all kinds of weather, exposed. It is steadfast--like the Christmas tree, that is green year-round.