December 28, 2022
by Kimberly Grassmeyer
Creighton University's Division of Mission and Ministry
click here for photo and information about the writer

Feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs
Lectionary: 698

1 John 1:5—2:2
Psalm 124:2-3, 4-5, 7-8
Matthew 2:13-18

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What a blessing to be asked to reflect on any bible readings that appear in the lectionary during the Christmas Season. Hope. Light. Peace. Grace.  Throughout the year I suspect most of us struggle, from time to time, to be mindful of these Gifts of Christmas, but at this season of the Church year, we are surrounded by reminders to be grateful for them.  

In the first reading from John, we are reminded that we are Beloved.  Such a powerful and deeply meaningful word!  We're reminded that God is Light, and that as the beloved, we've been invited to walk in that light.  What a special opportunity - to walk in the light, to be light for others, to share God in fellowship with others.  In so doing we find grace in Jesus' promise to be our advocate in the forgiveness of our sins.  I'm so thankful to be forgiven, and to be "Beloved".     

The Gospel reading from Matthew reminds us of the sheer magnitude of the promise of Jesus' coming; the hope of Jesus' presence among us, the common folk. News of Jesus' birth was so disruptive that King Herrod feared his reign would be threatened, and as a consequence ordered the unthinkable.  In all of the glorious, hopeful Christmas story, this detail cautions us that evil lives, fear can drive terrible decisions, and ignorance can have tragic consequences.  It's a difficult reminder that ego, jealously, greed, lust for power, and other forms of selfishness are still at work today, even as we see that its intentions in Herrod's case found no success.  Despite this story shared in Matthew, we know the outcome of the tragedy.  Jesus lived, so that his message and his life could be a model and an invitation to us all. It is only through faith - not through reason - that the ugly and beautiful reality of this story makes sense to me; that although blood was shed due to the evil, fear, and ignorance of a King, an Infant King would somehow escape persecution long enough to leave his mark and his message - even now, more than 2000 years later.  If Jesus' escape to Egypt with Joseph and Mary fulfilled a prophesy, it also laid the path for his rising to the most influential kingship of all; his sharing salvation and forgiveness for me, and for you, and for all.  Hope. Peace. Light. Grace.  

Blessings to you this Christmas season.  Amen.  

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