Read: “Keep Herod in Christmas”
Coming cold to this chapter, I had no idea where McLaren was going to take us. But as with so much else that he writes, in this book and elsewhere, his masterful use of the element of surprise takes us to a place where we can see something more clearly than before.
Violence? Nothing new about that. But–keep it in Christmas? Well, that is not something I have considered before–at least not the way we are asked to consider it in this chapter. Seeing Herod and Pharaoh as colaborers in death was a new connection for me. And with these reflections, McLaren took me where I needed to go.
If the remembrance of Herod keeps alive in us the tears of parents who send their children off to war, never to see many of them again—if the remembrance of Herod will not let us forget that violence is often generated by the elites who have a lot to gain from it–if the remembrance of Herod will prevent us from insensitively watching Drone Rockets hit targets and kill people who never even knew what hit them–if keeping Herod in Christmas will keep us alive to these things, then keep him in the Story. God wanted him to be in the first one. We still need him in ours today.
I just preached a message for our Blue Christmas Service last night from Matthew 2. For the first time I had to consider the fact that the memory of a new star in the sky might not be a good one for the parents of the infants lost to Herod’s sword. There are many that, like the Magi, come to this time of year “overwhelmed with joy” while there are others that, like those parents, are experiencing unimaginable pain right now. God help us. Come Immanuel. Thank you for this post.