<<Lesson 6 Lesson 8>>
Nine Lessons for Christmas
7. The Massacre of the Innocents
reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew.
When Herod realized that he had
been deceived by the magi,
he became furious.
He ordered the massacre of all
in Bethlehem and its vicinity
two years old and under,
in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.
Then was fulfilled what had
been said through Jeremiah the prophet:
“A voice was heard in Ramah,
and loud lamentation;
weeping for her children,
would not be consoled,
they were no more.”
Herod’s massacre of boys emphasizes his fear of a potential
rival in Jesus
The book of the prophet
Jeremiah (31:15) portrays Rachel, wife of the patriarch Jacob, weeping for
her children taken into exile at the time of the Assyrian invasion of the
northern kingdom (722–721 B.C.). Bethlehem was
traditionally identified with Ephrath, the place near
which Rachel was buried (see Genesis 35:19; 48:7), and the mourning
of Rachel is here applied to her lost children of a later age. Ramah:
about six miles north of Jerusalem. The lamentation of Rachel is so great
as to be heard at a far distance.
Let the just rejoice, for their
justifier is born. Let the sick and infirm rejoice, for their savior is
born. Let the captives rejoice, for their Redeemer is born. Let
slaves rejoice, for their Master is born. Let free men rejoice, for their
Liberator is born. Let All Christians rejoice, for Jesus Christ is born.