Matthew 2:13-23 which tells of the massacre of the children of Bethlehem by the troops of Herod. The point of my sermon was that we humans are capable of great evils and we can't seem to help ourselves from distorting even the most beautiful things--Christmas, in my opinion, not the materialistic orgy of consumerism of our culture, but the self-giving of God provides us a way out of this cycle of conflict and violence.
I began the sermon sharing the story of a group of "real bearded Santas"--men who work as Santa Claus at department stores and other events each year and who have real beards--that degenerated into a nasty struggle for power and control. I got that story from one of my favorite weekly pleasures--This American Life--which told the story in a recent episode. As soon as I heard it, I thought, "I'm going to work this into a sermon somehow." I feel quite sure that I did not do the story justice, so I highly recommend listening to it yourself. For me, it is illustrative of how we humans can take even the most beautiful things and twist them into a cause for spiritual, emotional and physical violence.