Jeremiah’s Christmas connection is found in Chapter 31:15. The Gospel of Matthew repeats the verse in Matthew 2:18. This is the foundation for the special day called the Feast of the Innocents (December 28), which remembers the murder of the male children in Bethlehem at Herod’s command.
Tradition has the visitation of the Magi on Christmas Day but it could have been up to two years after the angels sang the Gloria and the shepherds found Jesus in Bethlehem. We also tend to ignore that Jesus was in a house (Matthew 2:11; not a stable) and that the Magi (maybe) went east (2:9) from Jerusalem following the star. This argument could be pointless, but Nazareth is north and east of Jerusalem while Bethlehem is south and west from the Holy City. The terminology about the star and its behavior could come down to who is doing the translating. Okay back to the connection.
The History behind Jeremiah’s prophecy that refers to Rachel weeping for her children and that she will not be comforted was first said by the Prophet Micah. Micah’s first mention of a ruler is in chapter 4:8 (kingship will come to the Daughter of Jerusalem, NIV) with the mention of a watchtower of the flock. Chapter 5:2 completes the location by predicting Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus. This is the region where the sacrificial lambs came from for the Temple. The watchtower connects the sheep, shepherds, Bethlehem, and Rachel.
Rachel and Jacob – Rachel, Bethlehem, and the mourning all started in Genesis 35:16 – 20. This is the story of Rachel dying as she gave birth to Benjamin. Some back story here is good. Rachel named the boy, son of my trouble, and Jacob renamed him the son of my right hand. It is also worthy to mention that this makes Benjamin the only child of Jacob born in Israel.
Jacob retells a version of this story to Joseph on his death bed in Genesis 48:7. He adds some details about the distance from Bethlehem, and the burial by the road, with the detail of his returning from Paddan. Paddan is where Jacob worked for Laban.
Jeremiah’s word recounts the pain of Rachel, as it foreshadows the loss of the children of Bethlehem. Its Christmas connection goes further as this would be the warning for Joseph to take his family and flee to Egypt.
Special pic is from http://www.LumoProject.com.
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