In this sermon given on January 1, Dr. Mathilde Frey, professor of Hebrew Bible and Old Testament at Walla Walla University, follows up on a darker part of the Christmas story, exploring a character who appears in Matthew but is rarely mentioned during the holiday season. Frey explains:
It is the story of an oft-forgotten woman when we celebrate the joy of the newborn son of God. After all, we don't see her in the Christmas pageant place. She's not there with all the other visitors in Bethlehem. And yet, she is the reason why Bethlehem became the birthplace for baby Jesus. The woman is Rachel, the mother who died in sorrow and tears and never got to hold her newborn son.
Frey tells the story of Rachel through three different scenes in the books of Genesis, Jeremiah, and finally Matthew.
"Let me ask a question that has roamed in my mind and soul ever since a friend asked it this way: What matters most to God? Our sins, or our tears?" she asks.
Before joining the Walla Walla University School of Theology, Frey studied theology in Austria and Germany and worked as a pastor in the South German Conference. She earned a PhD in Old Testament from Andrews University and specializes in close reading of the Hebrew Bible.
You can watch the entire sermon below (beginning at the 41-minute mark).
Alex Aamodt is managing editor of SpectrumMagazine.org