On the Fourth Day of Christmas: Away From the Manger for the Feast of Holy Innocents

My Christmas daybook for these 12 days of celebrating. We'll be spending Christmastide with some favorite short films and video clips. Join me, won't you? 

For an introduction read this post: Christmastide. You can see previous Christmas Daybook 2018 posts here.

Note: If you're reading this in email, the formatting usually looks much better at the website. Just click the post title to get there.


  1. Away From the Manger (The Refugee King), Words and music by Liz ViceWen ReaganBruce BenedictGreg Scheer, and Lester Ruth | Performed by Liz Vice (lead vocals) and Hannah Glavor (guitar and backing vocals) (2018)

  2. Trinity on the Border

  3. What Do Syrian Refugees Want For Christmas, (2017) AJ

  4. Alone at Christmas: Refugee Diaries, (2017) BBC 3

  • An introduction to this song that Victoria Emily Jones wrote at Art & Theology: “…a reprise of the saccharine “Away in a Manger” that takes into account the Massacre of the Innocents and the resultant flight to Egypt of the Holy Family, thereby giving a broader view of the Christmas story, one that coheres better with the Matthean narrative, which ends with Rachel weeping. The clever twists on the original lyrics and the grayer tonality give a sense of the darkness into which Jesus came and also resonate with the experiences, hopes, and fears of many contemporary refugees.” (Lyrics here)

  • Fr. Michael and Dr. Erica Jarrett are the founders of Trinity on the Border—a chapel and outreach mission serving Christ along the South Texas/Mexico border. Part of Michael’s duties include helping immigrant shelters and serving as a chaplain in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. You can join him in Morning and Evening prayer each day atthetrinitymission.org.

    If you would like to learn more about how you and your church can participate in their work on the border from wherever you are in the country, check out thebordermission.org.

The Fourth Day of Christmas - December 28th
The Feast of the Holy Innocents - "Childermass"

This is a day when children should have the preeminence in family life, leading the family prayers, making decisions about family activities for the day, having the place of honor at meals, and so forth. Households that do not have children might "adopt" a neighborhood family or two with their children and make a party at which the children are the guests of honor.

The story of the Holy Innocents is one of the most poignant stories in all of Scripture, "Rachel weeping for her children... because they are no more."  It is a day to give thanks for the children in our lives, whether in our own families or in the larger family of the Church.  And it is a good day to revive the ancient custom of parents blessing their children at the end of the day, as part of their nightly prayers. 


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.
— Book of Common Prayer, Collect for Feast of Holy Innocents

Bless the children.

The Blessing of Children by Parents or Friends of the Family

O God our Father, whose Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, once embraced the little children who were brought to him, saying, "Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, and their angels always see the face of my Father;"  Look now, we beseech thee, on the innocence of these children: Bless them and protect them this night and throughout their lives; (the parent makes the sign of the cross on the forehead of each child) in thy grace and goodness let them advance continually, longing for thee, knowing thee, and loving thee, that they may at the last come to their destined home and behold thee face to face; through Jesus Christ, the Holy Child of Bethlehem, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Then, taking the head of each child in both hands, a parent says to each one:  May God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit bless you and keep you both now and for evermore.  Amen.

(See all Christmas Daybook posts from 2017 here.)