Feast of the Holy Innocents
From the Collect for the Holy Innocents Episcopal.
We remember today, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by King Herod. Receive, we pray, in to the arms of your mercy all innocent victims; and by your great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish your rule of justice, love and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
During this Christmas season the memories of innocent children celebrating on Christmas morning, wide-eyed and gleeful as each present is unwrapped, each cookie is eaten and each story is told is a picture of love and goodness! Alas! The holy innocents whose lives were cut short by the order of a demonic ruler were never to know the happiness of such joyful days.
A newborn baby, holy and innocent is a reminder of God’s love for all of humanity. This is what we celebrate with the great feast of the incarnation on Christmas Day. One wonders what happens to that innocence we all enjoyed as young children. We live in a world that seems to be totally void of innocence and compassion and mercy. The Herod’s of the world still spread the message of greed, corruption and control.
How can we regain some of that innocence of childhood? The Collect prayer above gives us a prescription to follow as we pray;
Receive, we pray, in to the arms of your mercy all innocent victims; and by
Your great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish your rule
Of justice, love and peace.
We don’t have to look far to find the innocent victims. The homeless who sleep under our viaducts, the crippled woman who tearfully accepted the food basket we delivered to her simple but rundown flat last weekend, the teachers in our commonwealth who have to fight constantly to save their hard-earned pensions. The evil tyrants consumed with greed and power and selfish ambitions continue to rule the less fortunate without any mercy or compassion.
May justice love and peace become our focus during this Christmastide and into the new year.
May we continue to frustrate the tyrant and raise up the innocent at every opportunity that comes our way! Blessings upon all in the New Year! Peace!
Theresa Secord is a Pastoral Associate at St. Agnes Parish, Louisville, Kentucky.