When King Herod heard from the Magi about the birth of the Messiah, he decided to kill all the infants up to two years old at Bethlehem and the surrounding area, hoping that the new-born Messiah would be among them.
Herod knew about John’s unusual birth and he wanted to kill him, fearing that he was the foretold King of the Jews. But Elizabeth hid herself and the infant in the hills. The murderers searched everywhere for John. Elizabeth, when she saw her pursuers, began to implore God for their safety, and immediately the hill opened up and concealed her and the infant from their pursuers.
Editor’s note: We know from scripture that St. John the Baptist was born during Passover, in the spring. We also know that St. John was conceived and subsequently born 6 months before Jesus Christ – meaning that Jesus was most likely born in the month of September or October. (Add 6 to 3 or 4 and you get September or October – NOT December.)
But Jesus may well have been conceived in late December, so there’s still plenty of reason for joy. Plus – there have been a number of modifications (not to mention outright errors and “slippage”) to the calendar over the years, so December 25 may be correct, after all!