Christmas Daybook, 4: Holy Innocents

Welcome to 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? 




He Came Down from Speak Life

Poet and Anglican priest Malcolm Guite writes at his blog the meaning of today's remembrances in the church calendar:

The Holy Innocents (Refugee): ", the fourth day of Christmas, is the feast day of the Holy Innocents. It is the day the Church remembers the story, told in Matthew’s Gospel of the appalling cruelty and wickedness of Herod in ordering the massacre of innocent children, in a bid to protect his own power-base. Appalling, but only too familiar. What Herod did then, is still being done by so many present day Herods. This scarred and wounded world is the world into which Jesus was born, the world he came to save, and amongst those brought by his blood through the grave and gate of death and into the bliss of Heaven are those children of Bethlehem who died for his name without ever knowing him. But he knows them, as he knows and loves every child in Syria, and he says of them, to every Herod, ‘Whatsoever ye do unto the least of these, ye do it unto me.’

Guite shares a sonnet titled Refugee in honor of the Feast of Holy Innocents. (Please read; it's profound.) I've chosen to share a short film I discovered last year, featuring another sort of child our society (around the globe) too quickly abandons. In the past few years, several different friends have received the gift of a child with Down Syndrome, and I have grown in my understanding, compassion, and love for what many refer to as #theluckyfew

There's a line from one of the prayers in the Book of Common Prayer that Brian and I have clung to in the past year: Enlarge our hearts to love the things that You love, oh God. Today, let's say it this way: Enlarge our hearts to love the people you love, oh God. 


Readings for the Feast of Holy InnocentsPsalm 124, Jeremiah 31:15-17, Revelation 21:1-7, Matthew 2:13-18

Prayer for today:

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

Thanksgiving with a family from my mother's ESL class, 2010.

Thanksgiving with a family from my mother's ESL class, 2010.

Extend Your Family

{an excerpt from my post 12 Ways To Savor the 12 Days of Christmas

The  years we lived in Austin we missed our extended family something terrible at Christmas. Occasionally, we made the financial sacrifice to fly home and that helped a little; at the same time we're glad we've had the opportunity to experience Christmas without family nearby. With twelve whole days to celebrate, we enjoyed spending a few of them with other people who were alone, and try to make that part of our celebrating no matter where we live.

From a Think Christian article I wrote in 2017: "When it comes to hospitality to neighbors, I don’t know anyone more on mission than my parents. Apparently this habit began when they were newly married, living in a high-rise apartment building outside of Washington, D.C. Unsure how to meet their neighbors, they relied on their small-town instinct: share food. I still try to imagine how my mom must have felt, in her early twenties, carrying a freshly baked apple pie to another apartment.

Unsurprisingly, this method worked. My parents became friends with many of their neighbors—some that lasted a lifetime and some who, over coffee and more pie, asked questions about Christ. Last weekend, during a visit home, my mother told a story of the Algerian immigrants she knew from teaching English classes at the local civic association. When she discovered the family had recently moved into her neighborhood, she naturally made them a loaf of bread and delivered it to their door."

(See all Christmas Daybook posts from 2016 here.)