In the midst of the brief and joyful Christmas season, the church remembers the reality of violence and fear that accompanied our Savior’s birth. The Feast of the Holy Innocents celebrated on December 28 reminds us that the opposition to goodness and truth have always been a part of our human sojourn. The story this feast commemorates is found in the second chapter of Matthew. Mary, Joseph, and their infant Jesus flee Bethlehem to escape the threat of King Herod’s violence. While the Holy Family finds refuge in Egypt, all the other boys under two years of age are killed to satisfy King Herod’s quest to eliminate royal rivals.
This story is frightening because it speaks of the ruthless and indiscriminate nature of evil in the world. This story is frightening because it reminds us of headlines we encounter regularly in the media today. This story is frightening because it confronts us with the contingency of our future security.
But, in the end, the story also points us toward God, who is the only source of true security. In the Suffrages of Morning Prayer, we pray, “Give peace, O Lord, in all the world; for only in you can we live in safety.” Knowing that our safety comes from God alone, and that nothing—including death—can separate us from the love of Christ, empowers us to protect the innocent from the evil and violence of our own day. I look forward to discovering new ways we might prayerfully go about the work of protecting the Holy Innocents in our midst.
– The Reverend Deacon Joslyn Ogden Schaefer, Associate Rector