Friday, December 28, 2012

Unto Us a Boy is Born [Feast of the Holy Innocents]

It's the Feast of the Holy Innocents today, which has a lot more resonance this year for me. This is the hymn that came to my mind shortly after the Newtown massacre for its verse about Herod -- "all the little boys he killed" -- what a horrible, horrible story.

And there's a strange thing going on in this story I hadn't thought about before: about how other people suffered when Jesus came into the world. Other innocent people. I don't have much more than that; it's something I'll need to ponder.

Here's the collect for today, which I think is powerful stuff:
We remember today, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by King Herod. Receive, we pray, into 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, for ever and ever. Amen.
No subtitles today. This hymn isn't among Christmas' greatest hits. It is strange to be reminded of grief at Christmas, but important. The grief is there; burying it under layers of Christmas cheer is not to our benefit, I feel.

Unto us a boy is born!
The King of all creation,
came he to a world forlorn,
the Lord of every nation.

Cradled in a stall was he
with sleepy cows and asses;
but the very beasts could see
that he all men surpasses.

Herod then with fear was filled;
"A prince," he said, "in Jewry!"
All the little boys he killed
at Bethlehem in his fury.

Now may Mary's son, who came
so long ago to love us,
lead us all with hearts aflame
unto the joys above us.

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