Malcolm Guite's post today on The Holy Innocents links Herod's massacre of the Bethlehem babies with children killed in Syria and at Sandy Hook school. He writes that Jesus knows and loves every child and says to every Herod,
"whatsoever ye do unto the least of these, ye do it unto me."Malcolm's post includes his sonnet 'Refugee' based on Matthew 2: 13-18 which is well worth reading.
Herod's Solution is Digitalnun's challenge to see the connection between Jesus' birth and the cross, to think about the dignity and worth of every human person and how we love and respect children. She thinks that
"the Benedictine motto, the word Pax or ‘Peace’ surrounded by a crown of thorns, is a useful image for what Christmas means. Yes, we welcome the Prince of Peace, but we know where his peace-making will lead — to death on the Cross. The Child in the manger will become the Man of Sorrows who redeems us at the expense of his own life. More than that, the Child whose birth we celebrate with feasting and fun will be a sign of contradiction for the whole world, dividing as well as uniting, because when he calls us to follow, we must leave everything else behind. For some, that will mean abandoning family and career in order to follow Jesus as a priest or religious; for others it will mean taking on the demands of discipleship in a world which would rather not know about the ‘difficult’ aspects of Christianity, especially when they challenge the comfortable opinions by which society lives."
The well-known 'Coventry Carol' is based on the story of the massacre of the infants. It is one of the Christmas Carols I find most moving, being both a lullaby and a lament. Here it is with Christmas scene pictures: