On Christmas day we join choirs of angels and raise the strains of “Joy to the World!” Our children sing sweetly of the little Lord Jesus so peacefully asleep on the hay that he doesn’t cry out when animals wake him with off-key parts to the lullaby. But then the music changes drastically. We hear wailing and loud lamentation. Ancient mother Rachel weeps inconsolably over the loss of her children. Must we listen to this? Have we no season to block out the sounds of grief?
Though it hints at eventual sorrow, Luke’s six-scene operetta about Jesus’ birth has no song of lament. By contrast, Matthew’s birth story is drenched in children’s blood and needs Rachel’s lament. No other tears suffice.