By s_kawee

Christmas can be a joyful time with church and family, full of happiness. However, it can also be a painful time, full of loneliness and sorrow.

If we have endured grief, loss, or trauma during the year, this will be the time we feel it acutely.

If we have had painful Christmases in the past, it’s hard to celebrate without those memories casting shadows on the present.

Matthew, amongst all the rejoicing, pauses to mark the inconsolable grief of the mothers who lost their children thanks to Herod’s violent jealousy.

While Jesus escaped, and this is good, others paid the price of an evil man in a position of power.

Though Bethlehem was a small town, and the number of boys born around the same time as Jesus may only have been twenty or thirty, Matthew – and God – interrupts the flow of jollity to mourn those lives lost.

We remember them, too, as we mark the Feast of the Holy Innocents every 28th December.

Matthew dignifies these deaths by comparing the loss to the traumatic events of the exile, where we first saw this quote in Jeremiah 31.

If you remember, God tells the original mourners to stop their weeping because ‘there is hope for your descendants’ (Jer. 31:17), but here, Matthew just leaves the verse about the lament, without resolution.

When we face great pain and loss, we need others to lament with us and mark those anniversaries. We need people who will lament, without jumping to resolution.

Today I’m thinking specifically of anyone who is raw with grief, whether that loss was yesterday or decades ago. If that’s you, know that God weeps with you.


A Prayer To Make:
‘Lord Jesus, who wept when Your friend died, be with us today. Hear our lament, take our pain, be our comfort, we beg of You. Amen.’

An Action To Take:
If you are grieving, light a candle. Let it be a prayer, even if you don’t have the words to pray. If you’re rejoicing, take time today to reach out to grieving friends.

Scripture To Consider:
Ps. 42:1–11; Jer. 31:15–25; Matt 11:28–30; 2 Cor. 1:3–5

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.