First Sunday of Christmas – The Holy Innocents – Matthew 2:13-18
When Herod say that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under. (Matthew 2:16, NRSV)
This is not a “feast day” that Christians like to remember. So soon after Christmas, with its understandably romanticized stories and songs about “Little Lord Jesus asleep in the hay,” comes this awful tale of baby boys “two years old and under” being massacred on the orders of a jealous tyrant—all because of “Little Lord Jesus!” It reminds us that whenever something good comes along it is often undermined or attacked by evil, either subtly or openly. This story also reminds us of how vulnerable the baby born at Bethlehem was, and that it was God Himself who chose to be with us as a defenseless human in a violent and treacherous world. He is with us still.
Incarnate Lord, give us the knowledge that you will suffer any pain, grief, and treachery with us, and that you will not let evil have the last word. Amen.
– Fr. Larry Parrish, St. Thomas Episcopal Church