He Came for ‘Em All

By Al Perrotta Published on December 22, 2023

The story of Jesus’ birth is not brimming with the elite. One blood-thirsty tyrant king, and royal advisors from a foreign land, are about it. The story is populated with regular folk: a carpenter and his young betrothed, the girl’s cousin and husband, the Christ Child’s cousin in his mother’s womb, shepherds in the field, a faithful widow, an old man of God, those who housed the expectant couple, those travelers also in Bethlehem for the census.

Jesus came for ‘em all. From the well-to-do to the down-and-out. Those who worked with their hands to those whose work was studying scripture or the stars. From leads in the story, like Mary and Joseph, to the unnamed widow who spent her days in the Temple. Jesus came for ‘em all. From that tiny town, from that humble manger, the Word Incarnate stretched his arms and embraced the whole world. Jesus came for ‘em all.

And We Mean Them All

So far, so beautiful. Yet dig a bit deeper and we discover why Jesus is, in the memorable words of The Stream’s Tom Gilson, “Too Good to be False.” There were other characters in the Nativity story. Characters that tend not to show up in church productions or even Sight & Sound theater’s stunning Miracle of Christmas. I’m talking about cold-blooded killers. To thwart this newborn “King of the Jews” who may threaten his rule, King Herod ordered the slaughter of children under the age of two.

Some men had to have carried out that order. Some men must have entered that quiet village in Judea and took knives to the throats of the most innocent. Killed them amid the screams of their mothers. Dumped their tiny bodies on the dirt. And departed as casually as if they had come to take a dip from a water well.

Jesus came for them too.

Even if we recognize ourselves as wretched sinners little deserving of grace, can we really wrap ourselves around the fact that Jesus came for those soldiers who with workman-like ease would murder children? Perhaps in the abstract we can grasp that Jesus’ offer doesn’t come with an asterisk. The Massacre of the Innocents was 2,000 years ago. The scene in the Nativity echoed the ancient word of the prophet declaring “Rachel weeping for her children, because they were no more.” Perhaps, given the population of Bethlehem at the time, only a handful of children were impacted and it was such a much more brutal time than today.

Or was it?

The New Massacre of the Innocents

Just 10 weeks ago, on the very land that Herod’s soldiers soaked with blood, Jewish children in numbers still difficult to fathom were slaughtered, tortured, burned alive, beheaded … along with over a thousand other Jewish men and women. Executed with a level of depravity too dark for even the most horrible of horror movies.

Unlike Herod’s soldiers, who likely just went about their day, these killers celebrated, paraded, called their proud parents to share their great news. They went about continuing to mentally and physically torture the hostages they dragged to Gaza, doing so in the name of their god.

No words of revulsion are enough to describe these killers, these terrorists — and for that matter, those who cheer them.

And yet … and yet … and yet ….

Jesus came for them all.

More than the magnificence of Creation, beyond even the miracle of the Virgin birth, this strikes me with “awestruck wonder.”

A Teary World Rejoices

This Christmas finds us not merely in a weary world rejoicing, but a teary one. The wailing and weeping is fresh in our ears.

“A voice is heard in Ramah,
    mourning and great weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children
    and refusing to be comforted,
    because they are no more.”

Oh, but Jeremiah went on. We cannot forget that the Prophet Jeremiah went on.

This is what the Lord says:

“Restrain your voice from weeping
    and your eyes from tears,
for your work will be rewarded,”
declares the Lord.
    “They will return from the land of the enemy.

So there is hope for your descendants,”
declares the Lord.
    “Your children will return to their own land.”

Two thousand years ago, Jesus came for ’em all. Two thousand years later, hope remains. 

 

Al Perrotta is the Managing Editor of The Streamco-author, with John Zmirak, of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and co-author of the counter-terrorism memoir Hostile Intent: Protecting Yourself Against Terrorism

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