Christmas Tears





 "The rulers of this world are seldom friendly to the cause of God.”
J. C. Ryle


I was planning to write a simple Christmas greeting to my blogger friends. Then I came across this story, a story we forget in the middle of all the joy of Christmas. This was part of a sermon from the Keep Believing Ministries.

" This is the story of the man who tried to kill Christmas. It is strange and bizarre and doesn’t seem like it should be in the Bible. It doesn’t seem like we should read it during the Christmas season. It doesn’t sound right amid all the Christmas carols. It doesn’t look right surrounded by sparkling lights and candy canes. It takes all the joy away and leaves only sadness.

No, this is a story we would just as soon forget. It’s a story about the boys of Bethlehem. It’s a story about murder in the manger. History has labeled this event the Slaughter of the Innocents. It’s part of the Christmas story, tucked away toward the end of Matthew.
When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: ‘‘A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more” (Matthew 2:16-18) "

This is part of the scandal of Christmas. Whenever choirs do Christmas concerts, they don’t sing about this part of the story. No Christmas carols mention this tragic event. Yet it happened one night in Bethlehem. What Herod did to those baby boys is just as real as Mary giving birth to Jesus.Mary rejoicing, Rachel weeping. Christmas joy, Christmas tears—all wrapped up together.

Why is this shocking story recorded in the Bible? It must be true because the Bible records it as a sober historical fact, and it must be important or Matthew wouldn’t have mentioned, and that means there must be something here we need to think about. There are times in the Bible when you read something and it is so amazing or so unexpected or in this case so heartbreakingly cruel you ought to stop and ask, “What’s going on here?”
As we look at these verses we are struck with an enormous sense of evil. In fact it’s hard to find the right words to describe the act— barbaric, despicable, hideous, inhuman, and unspeakably cruel. It is an act worthy of Stalin, Hitler or Saddam Hussein .


A few years ago I had seen a column about an event that took place when the Nazi Adolph Eichmann—who helped plan the systematic destruction of millions of Jews and others in the Holocaust—was put on trial in Israel. A Jewish man by the name of Yehiel Dinur had survived the concentration camps and had testified against Eichmann (when he was tried in absentia) at the Nuremburg trials after World War II. Years later the Israeli Special Forces captured Eichmann in a daring raid in Argentina returned him to Israel to stand trial for his crimes. Dinur attended the 1961 trial as a witness. When he saw Eichmann in the courtroom Dinur began to sob uncontrollably. Soon he fainted and fell to the floor. Why? Was it hatred? Fear? Horrid memories? Speaking in an interview  on a TV show sometime later, Dinur explained that during the war he had feared Eichmann because he saw him as someone fundamentally different than he was. But now, seeing him stripped of all his Nazi glory, Dinur saw Eichmann for what he really was—just an ordinary man. “I was afraid about myself,” Dinur explained, “I saw that I am capable to do this. I am … exactly like he.” That is why he collapsed on the floor !

The truth can be summarized  in six terrifying words: “Eichmann is in all of us.”

This is in fact the central truth about human nature. Sin is in us—not just the temptation to sin, not just the propensity to sin, but sin itself dwells in us. We don’t like to hear this truth, which is why we don’t like to think about stories like the slaughter of the infants of Bethlehem. They force us to confront the truth about who we really are.

Christmas is a time for all to share and care. So let's not remain confined to our petty selves. Let us welcome with outstretched arms those unfortunate ones who have no one to fall back upon. Christmas is a good time; a kind, forgiving, generous, pleasant time; a time when men and women can open their hearts freely, forget the past , forgive each other and welcome the New Year with peaceful hearts.

Wishing you all the timeless treasures of Christmas…the warmth of home, the love of family and the company of good friends. Have a blessed Christmas!


Comments

  1. Dr. Antony,

    Very well written post. People in power need to control their urge to commit sin. Dinur was right.

    Thanks for providing details of Bible that are not commonly known.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you.

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  2. Well I'm sure that has given many of us lots to think about, thanks for an interesting post.

    My best wishes to you and yours.

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  3. It took courage to tell this story, Doc! In fact, behind every incident of love and sacrifice in human history, there will be such untold stories of inhumanity. In each of us, there is a Dr. Jekyll and a Mr.Hyde.
    Perhaps the story teaches us a great lesson; the lesson that even goodness comes at a price!

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  4. Very well explained...
    merry Christmas and happy holidays,,,

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  5. Doc, Happy Christmas. We finished all our Christmas shopping on Sunday and I finally managed to wrap all the gifts. I hope you finished all your shopping too. I am planning on baking a rum cake for the first time on Christmas eve. Wish me luck :)

    Very thoughtful story.

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  6. doc, the best post in recent memory.
    the demon is in us , each of us. It lies dormant and unseen , and will raise its head , when the moment is conducive, ripe- but that again depends upon the conditioning parted by our parents, by our early associations.

    A Nero, a Hitler, a Stalin, and name the cruellest of all those who faded , are very much alive, alas but Christ and his like are far few for comfort.

    Have a happy Xmas , doc

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  7. Thank you for the thought provoking post @Doc!

    Wishing you and yours a blessed & Merry Christmas as well!

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  8. Christmas is the time to share...beautiful words.

    Mwerry Christmas!!!

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  9. Very interesting and thought provoking.
    Mary X'mas

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  10. Merry Christmas. Indeed, a story worth sharing and not known.

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  11. Thanx for sharing that aspect of xmas doc!!
    Merry Xmas to u too!

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  12. Touching and thought provoking.
    Have read a lot about Eichmann (and seen some movies too)
    Yes there is a Eichman in all of us.
    Let us not evoke it.

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  13. Very true. We all have a bad side to our nature and that is something we prefer to cover up. Then it suddenly comes out at the most unexpected moment and one cannot believe that it was he/she that said or did so. It may be better to recognize the satan in us and work towards eliminating him rather than pretent that all is well.
    That said let not such negativity dampen your X'mas mood. A merry Christmas to you and yours.

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  14. Dr.Antony , Good to know about this sad story on Christmas Day..we just concentrate on joy side..very nicely written touching post...time to time we must peep into the sin aspect of human nature and attempt to reform..your story helped.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family. :)

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  15. @A
    Wish you and family all the goodness in the New Year and for years to come.
    @Petty
    How was Christmas?
    @Balachandran
    A price tag behind every thing.Nothing comes free.
    @Madhu
    How was Christmas? How did the cake come out?That was tempting.I am sure of your result.There is not much of a Christmas celebration at this place.I am going on a short vacation to India this week.
    Have a wonderful New Year
    @SM
    Belated Christmas Wishes.Have a healthy New Year full of cheer.

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  16. Very well written post. We do tend to forget about the infants of long ago. We also forget we are capable of this sin and pray to God to help us overcome it. I read the book Hitler's Ovens, and it was so awful I could not keep reading about the Jew's being put into ovens, like we would bake a cake. We still live in a world of fear, fear of our fellow man. Have a nice New Year and be careful.

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  17. Read your post a bit late. Hope you enjoyed Christmas . Wish you a very happy New Year. By teh way, I enjoy reading the stories from Bible.

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  18. Happy New Year
    I enjoy reading your posts ,its like each word is felt within ,very amazing feeling



    http://soulwanderingsoul.blogspot.com/

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  19. Dr. Antony,

    No new post from you.

    We wish you a very Happy New Year 2011

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  20. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story.
    Let us not forget in this New Year that even if our expectations are not met with, what occurs in each of our lives would be nothing but what we interpret them to be, and remember, the best lessons would be hidden behind the veil of desperation.
    HAPPY NEW YEAR

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  21. wishing you a very happy..new year..
    2011

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  22. Happy New Year! Wish you the best year ever!

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  23. Dr.Antony, remembered your this post today...I have enjoyed reading all your posts but not commented for long time..hoping to get in track by new year...Merry Christmas. :)

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