Note to readers: Liturgical entries on this blog are based on the traditional calendar of the Books of Common Prayer and the traditional one-year Eucharistic lectionary. If you follow a newer calendar or three-year lectionary, there are variations in names for some Sundays and in the readings.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Holy Innocents Day

Once again the ancient calendar of the Church tempers our worldly tendencies in celebrating the Nativity of Christ. St. Matthew 2 tells us about the cruel act of King Heriod. In an attempt to eliminate the threat of Christ to his worldly power, the king ordered the execution of male children in Bethlehem under two years of age.

Thus, we see that the first Christmas was not all filled with kindly sentimentality. Even as angels, shepherds and wise men from the East greeted the Saviour's Birth, the forces of evil, destruction and death were still at work. The Christ Child became the object of hatred, and His innocent contemporaries were killed. Despite the many and great works that God has done to redeem human beings, our world is still the same. Many people do not welcome the good news of the divine child, and many still destroy the innocent to preserve personal power, wealth, comfort, convenience, etc.

Nevertheless, despite the existence and strength of evil in the world, God's work was not stopped. For all the evil he did, Herod did not succeed in destroying the incarnation of God's truth, love and grace. Herod's kingdom faded away, but the work of redemption in Jesus Christ continued. And so it is to our day. There is indeed much evil in the world, and it does cause much suffering, even of the most innocent. But God's work of redemption is not defeated. It continues and will continue to the end of the age and beyond.

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