How Christmas Killed Infanticide

I wrote this piece for Desiring God. You can read it on their site here or below. It’s easy to sentimentalize the Christmas story. A newborn babe, angelic songs, a guiding star — the scene lights up our winter nights and warms our weary hearts. But when Herod orders the slaughter of all the male infants and toddlers within striking distance of Bethlehem, the tale suddenly becomes less family friendly. Indeed, in this moment, the Christmas dream becomes the stuff of nightmares. Our hearts revolt against infanticide. It strikes us as the most callous of crimes. But while the wholesale slaughter of baby boys would certainly have distressed first-century hearers, infanticide itself was broadly