The “child-friendly” Christmas story is not completely safe. After all, the paranoid persecutor, King Herod, instigated a brutal killing of every boy under the age of 2 in Bethlehem. For that community it was horrific, but on the national scale, it would barely have registered – such was the nastiness of Herod.
God delivered Jesus from this attempt on his life. As we preach Christmas we can give the impression that if only humanity could learn our lessons from the Christmas story, then we would just be able to stop such nastiness to one another and the world might remain a lovely place year round. This is naive.
God did not deliver Jesus from Herod to set an example of how we should seek to stop evil in this world by delivering others. He did it because His plan was to deliver innocent Jesus to death for our sake. Christmas is not about us learning to be nice, it is about God’s mission to transform us at great cost to Himself.