Then Joab blew the trumpet, and the troops came back from pursuing Israel, for Joab restrained them. And they took Absalom and threw him into a great pit in the forest and raised over him a very great heap of stones. And all Israel fled every one to his own home.
Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” The Cushite bowed before Joab, and ran.
And behold, the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, “Good news for my lord the king! For the Lord has delivered you this day from the hand of all who rose up against you.” The king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And the Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man.” And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” II Samuel 18:16-17, 21, 31-33 ESV
[Jesus said:] “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” Matthew 23:37-39 ESV
Ebenezer Scrooge was a mean and greedy man until one Christmas Eve when three ghosts visited him and showed him shadows from the past and the present, and then the third spirit came to show him the future. The Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come took Ebenezer Scrooge to visit the house of his clerk, Bob Cratchit, on a Christmas day in the future. His son Tiny Tim had just died and the family was feeling very sad about it. Bob tried to be cheerful for his family, but he soon broke down and cried. “My little, little child,” Bob cried. “My little child.”
Parents are terribly sad if they lose any of their children. Some children are sweet and good like Tiny Tim, but even if they’ve done terrible things and hurt their parents the way Absalom did to his father David, parents are still very sad. When David found out that Absalom had been killed in the battle, he cried and wished he could have died instead of his son. “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom!” he cried. David didn’t cry because Absalom was good and had made him happy, but he cried because he loved Absalom and had lost him. Any hope that they could have stopped fighting and become friends again was over.
God, our Heavenly Father, is also terribly sad to lose his children. His Son Jesus showed that sadness when he cried over the people of Jerusalem. He wanted the people of Jerusalem to be his people, but they kept rejecting God and the prophets he sent them. Jesus was God’s prophet and Son, and many of the people of Jerusalem rejected him too. Jesus knew that judgment was coming to Jerusalem, and it made his cry. He said that so often he wanted to gather the people of Jerusalem the way a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but they weren’t willing.
We have all turned away from God in sin, and that’s why God sent Jesus. Jesus came to bring us back to God. He died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven, and he reaches out to us to bring us to himself. God’s love for us is strong and real. He wants us to be his own children, now and forever.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to die for us and to make us your children. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Dickens, Charles A Christmas Carol London: Chapman and Hall, 1843