the time of children

Guest Blogger: Sarah Hennessey

When Herod realized he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:  A loud voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children and she would not be consoled since they were no more.  Matt 2:15 -18

Our Christmas feast is a time of children. For a few short days, the laws of logic are suspended and the whole world conspires to make the innocent dreams of children come true. This year in her Santa letter, my niece asked for real fairy wings that fly and fairy dust that she could use whenever she wanted. Our faces become softer by candlelight and love is tangible.

Today we celebrate the feast of children – but of the holy innocents, the martyrs caught by a tyrant’s rage. I almost feel we should remember this feast daily because in our world the holy innocents are countless and the carnage staggering.

AIDS, malaria, war, hunger, child slavery, child labor, abuse, neglect. The very fabric of our global reality often leaves the most innocent the most vulnerable. 

Disappearing Daughters: Women Pregnant With Girls Pressured Into Abortions
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The Christmas season is the feast of the child:  the miracle of God made flesh at the point of utter and total despair on human love.  This Feast of the Holy Innocents reminds us not only of the love and the protection of the children we hold most dear; but we must also weave the fabric of justice in the world to protect the dignity of every child.  To forget this is to deny the holy spirit of Christmas.

 

oh, God

The solid statues seem to suggest that the horror of the cross is only historical.  We gather in dark churches to remember, and mix the meaning into our mind right along side wars, genocide, crusades and the holocaust.  Black and white photos in the history books tell us to keep telling the story and memorialize the dead.

This cross, though, is different from those other events.  Although it’s historical, it’s also eternal.  Every day we are wounded, nailed, bled, broken, bruised. We’re doing it to ourselves and each other. It happened before, and it’s happening today.  The pain we acknowledge today is as real now as it was then.

Maybe our praying with the cross today matters to our brothers and sisters of history after all.   Maybe this cross is broad and bigger than our mixed up human minds can fathom.  Maybe it can heal the wounds of history and change all humanity.