We can get so use to things that we don't always see or notice reality. Someone else who is not used to seeing what we see notices stuff. Take Christmas for example. We are so use to "peace on earth" and decorated trees and homes and holiday food and giving and receiving gifts. We live in a day where there's a whole cottage industry, spending billions of dollars creating an idealized expectation of Christmas… Hallmark, sentimentalized, manufactured moments! When Jesus was born, all was not calm, all was not bright. That little baby did not sleep in heavenly peace. There was a price on His head. An angel comes to Joseph whose life has been disrupted by this whole story. God says to Joseph, "Get up… take the child and His mother and escape to Egypt… for Herod is going to search for the child to kill Him." Read it for yourself in Matthew 2.
Why does he tell us about the agony of Bethlehem, this odd part of the story? Maybe if Jesus could enter into a world where unthinkable evil and suffering takes place, then maybe our world, a world in this last century that has seen two world wars and unspeakable genocides, maybe Jesus could come into our world. Maybe you know about agony. Maybe you have suffered a loss that has broken you. Maybe there will be an empty chair around a table this year that has never been empty before, and it hurts you so badly you almost wish it wasn't going to be Christmas because you don't want to look at that chair. Maybe it's a broken heart. Maybe it is a child who has run far away from you or from God. Don't you give up. See, Jesus comes to Bethlehem in the time of King Herod. But what if He hadn't come? What if He wasn't savior? That's what we're talking about in this series… "What if…?"