The shiny christmas story loses its glimmer at the slaughter of innocent children. This story reminds us at the need of a savior from the violence of this world. If asked about our christmas sermons and approach as a society maybe the older preacher was right, maybe it doesn't have enough blood on it.
The slaughter of the innocence, as this scripture is referred, confronts us with a reality we all know to be true...Innocent children are being murdered everyday. How quickly the Christmas story turns from celebration to bloodshed.
As we watch the news of children in Pakistan being murdered in their schools, or we see the violence of another school shooting, or the death of a 13 month old in Milwaukee in a house shooting, this scripture hits far too close to home. It is there that Matthew holds us in tension with the gospel message. The christ child is not immune from the horrors of this world and this is exactly what it means for Jesus to be Immanuel, God with us. God with us in flesh and blood threatened by the powers and principalities of the devil and evil forces. By the end of this story Matthew intends for us to hear that bloodshed has turned to celebration but for now we sit in the reality of the slaughter of the innocence, a reality Jesus has come to save us from.