Again – and in the space of only two days in this festive season of the high holidays of Christmas – the holy Christian Church commemorates the death of holy martyrs, who were killed for Jesus Christ’s sake. Two days ago it was St. Stephen, today it’s the little children of Bethlehem under 2 years, who king Herod had killed because he feared the new born king of the Jews. Again the watchword is from Psalm 116 verses 15 and 17: “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints… I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the LORD.”
The day’s gospel is from the evangelist St. Matthew: “When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.
Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” (2:13-18 NIV)
The hymn for the day is Dr. Martin Luther’s 2nd Christmashymn and fitting the same tune as the first one. Especially verses 4-6 sing to strengthen and comfort afflicted faith even though death, devil, hell and many more grievously hurt and harm us. God will not let go of us as we put our trust in him. Jesus Christ is on our side and ours and in the end we will overcome. Thank God for that in eternity.
This hymn is also available in isiZulu and is found under Nr.45 in the Incwadi Yokukhabelela. Here is a link on YouTube: http://youtu.be/FVDnFRYSpSI and here is another one: http://youtu.be/F5b8jC5zBNk
1) Vom Himmel kam der Engel Schar,
2) zu Bethlehem, in Davids Stadt,
3) Des sollt ihr alle fröhlich sein,
4) Was kann euch tun die Sünd und Tod?
5) Er will und kann euch lassen nicht,
6) Zuletzt müßt ihr doch haben recht,