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As we move through the Christmas story and almost come to the final ending, it would be good for us to do some thinking and pondering on all that has taken place.
Remember as I have said before, nothing is by accident and nothing without a reason.
Although I still struggle with Herod and his horrible actions.
Matthew 2: 13
After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.
“Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother.” the angel said, 
“Stay there until I tell you to return because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, and they stayed there until Herod’s death.
This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet:
“I called my son out of Egypt.”
*Returning to the verse from yesterday in chapter 2 vs 16
“Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men’s report of the stars first appearance.”
The fourteenth group of people were are learning about are the soldiers.
The soldiers were ordered to go house to house and kill all the little boys, who might have been the age of the Messiah.
Who Herod wanted to remove.
Can you imagine for a moment with me what that might have felt like for them?
To be a soldier who was given an order to kill infants.
My husband made the comment, what if they were parents too?
What if these were people you knew, even friends of yours?
How did it happen and how could they continue, as they forcibly removed children from their families, and then witness the anguish of parents reaching for their babies?
The soldiers had a very difficult horrific order give to them by Herod.
They didn’t have a choice.
We never talk about the soldiers and what they might have experienced during that horrible time.
In fact this is not a part of the Christmas story we like to talk about.
It is horrible, ugly, sad and deeply disturbing.
The word tells us in the book of Jeremiah 31:15
“A cry was heard in Ramah – weeping and great mourning.
Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted,
for they are dead.”
We cannot imagine the horror and deep intense sorrow,
it is beyond my capacity to think on or process.
Matthew 2:19
When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
“Get up! the angel said, “Take the child  and his mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead.” So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and his mother. But when he learned that the new ruler of Judea was Herod’s son Archelaus, he was afraid to go there. Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for the region of Galillee. 
So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth.
This fulfilled what the prophets had said: 
“He will be called a Nazarene.”
The birth of Jesus changed many lives.
We often sing of the nice and the comfortable, but we must not forget the sorrow too.
On the sixteenth day of Christmas we learn about the fourteenth group of people.
The story is filled with deep sadness and overwhelming grief.
I wonder if that is the reason why Jesus is called ‘the prince of Peace.’
Even now, the world needs peace and a hope that can only come from above, when we sing, “Oh little town of Bethlehem”, we will know there was more to the story.
But we will also know, on the night Jesus was born, that Oh Holy Night, a Savior was born and our souls found our hope forever.