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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wednesday Festival: Holy Innocents

Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents.  Erica writes about it at Don't Flay the Sheep:

I’m too much of a news junkie, mostly on my smart-phone. In my current life as a stay at home mom with a 10 month old baby and a kindergartener who needs dropping and off and picking up, I don’t get out much or see many other people. So I find myself paying way too much attention to that little box in my hand to get some sense of what’s happening beyond the 10 city blocks that are my present habitat.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that a friend, on his twitter feed, was mentioning the need to pray for folks in Belgium after some act of violence. I jumped onto a news application on my phone and saw this headline: “More than 5000 Killed.”

Because there is no more appropriate reaction to such obscene wastes of human life than obscenity (and because the baby isn’t yet repeating what I say), I saw that headline and yelled, “Holy S#!t” 5000 people dead in Belgium?

And then I noticed that the headline referred to Syria. And, I’m embarrassed to write it, my reaction was tempered a bit.

The attack in Belgium had no where near that amount of casualty (6 dead including the gunman, more than 100 wounded). I knew about what was happening in Syria. 5000 people dead in Belgium would have been more shocking to me in that moment, because Belgium seems peaceful compared to Syria.
But it felt awful to realize that, in some way, I had placed more value on that number of deaths had they happened in Belgium than in Syria.

Today is the day Christians remember “The Slaughter of the Innocents.” This is one of the parts of the story that gets left out of Christmas pageants. After the Wise Men visit Herod in Jerusalem, looking for the King who the star is leading them toward, Herod gets jealous at the possibility of another king, and orders all male children under the age of 1 to be killed. It is a gut-wrenchingly horrible story, and it reminds us how fragile this human life that God entered as Jesus really is.
Jesus has arrived, light breaks though, but the fact is that there is still suffering.

It’s one of the hardest truths about Christmas: here we’ve been waiting, we get a few days of oxytocin-induced happiness with the baby Jesus…and then we remember that everything is not yet right in the world.

The tally these days is still terrible. 6 in Belgium. Over 5000 in Syria. 8 in a family in Texas. More than 1000 from the typhoon in the Philippines…

Every one deserves to be remembered.

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