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Advent Devotions: Guilt and Grief

by | Dec 31, 2022 | Advent Devotions, Grief, Guilt

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him.’” (Matthew 2:1-2 ESV)

I wonder whether the wise men ever found out about the children who died as a result of their visit. I hope not. They were doing a very normal thing—taking presents to the new heir to the throne of a nearby country. From their viewpoint, it was a diplomatic mission like dozens of others. How were they to know it would end up in tragedy?

It wasn’t their fault, of course. Looking for a new royal baby? You should look in the capital city, of course—in the palace, in the king’s family! And they did—and babies died as a result.

What do you do, when your innocent action brings unintended harm? The only thing you can do—run to Jesus for help. He whose own innocent birth resulted in massacre, how could He not understand what you are feeling? Seek comfort in Him. He is well able to deal with your guilt, rational and irrational alike. He understands the whole mess, nobody better. And He will draw you close to Him, enfold you in His mercy, and heal you. He will hear your prayers for those caught up in evil. It’s what He does—because He gave Himself to become your Savior.

Prayer: Lord, draw near to me when I can’t draw near to You. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
* Do you think the wise men found out?
* What would you say to someone facing this kind of irrational guilt and grief?
* Has God helped you through a time when your well-meant actions led to trouble? If you are willing, tell the story.

Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on December 31, 2022
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved

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