3. Mary and Joseph knew that their son would be hated and rejected (Matthew 2:1-18).
Among other things the passage referenced above mentions the wholesale slaughter of all the children born in Bethlehem under the age of 2. In the wake of this magnificent birth, angels singing on a hillside, and a visit from the magi comes a horrific massacre. It is only through a dream that Joseph knows to flee with his family and misses the impending destruction.
I am sure that the reality of caring for a wanted child set in as they traveled to Egypt. Everyday they awaited the news that Herod had died and it would be safe to return to their beloved homeland. Even when that news came, they made their way to Galilee to avoid Herod’s vicious son.
Now there may not be a king or president intent on killing my children, but I have no doubt that there are sinister forces in this world that would seek to destroy the lives of my children. The forces of darkness were not silent at the birth of Christ and they are not silent today. There are too many who die needlessly. There are too many who are abused or injured. In my line of work we used to see and counsel the statistic that one out of four girls are raped or molested by the time they are the age 18. Sadly that number has increased to one out of three.
All around the world children are starving while we gorge ourselves on Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts. Darkness covers our globe and we pretend in merriment that our houses provide protection. We pretend that we even have the power to protect our kids.
What if we saw the darkness and instead of running from it, we asked God to send us into the midst of it? What if we were willing to get our hands dirty and aim our children strategically into the darkness so that by the time our grandchildren arrive, the world is a little less dark and the brilliant light of Christ can be seen more clearly.
The truth is that Jesus came into the world to destroy the darkness. That same darkness destroyed the lives of many children in the town of Bethlehem. But it could not keep them. He would one day go to the cross and bear our sins, die a horrible death, and be resurrected 3 days later. He promised to return. His resurrection gives us hope that we will one day be raised too. The darkness can not win.