Monday, December 28, 2009

Holy Innocents

When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men,he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:‘A voice was heard in Ramah,wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children;she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.’ Matthew 2:16-18

We humans are pretty miserable when we feel betrayed and jealous. Most of us just act out inappropriately to our family and friends. Everybody gives us wide berth for a bit and we settle down in time. Some people hold on to their anger longer and plot out how to get revenge, even though they never really plan to act it out. Others put all of their anger and jealousy on one sibling relationship or another. Some make a parent or child their target and just spend a life time sniping. Unfortunately, those who have power can do some real damage when they feel jealous and betray. Take Herod. Tricked by the wise men and jealous of the little boy who was getting all the attention, he orders all the baby boys to be killed in the region. I imagine some little girls perished in the massacre as well. For when people are set with instructions to kill, it is hard to be discreet. Killing takes over and all discretion and rationality go out the window. In the midst of our wonderfully hopeful Christmas story come the real bloody evil that humanity can so easily demonstrate. All inspired by jealousy and betrayal. Even a king who has everything can feel these things and destroy an entire generation of children- and parents and families along with them.

Today, we are invited to reflect on our human pettiness and ask God to help us be humble and forgiving. Whether we feel have been betrayed by wise guys, our friends, our family or a government program, we are invited to remember where those feelings can lead us if they go unchecked. Most of us don't have Herod's power, but we have the capacity to do damage to the most innocent in our midst. We are hurt and in hurting we can lash out. It is only human, and we are invited to seek new ways to deal with the hurt we feel. God is promising to be with us. In our hurt as well on our good days when all goes right. Now is a good time to seek forgiveness from those who toes we have stepped on when we have been hurt. God is revealed as we ask forgiveness and forgive others. I pray for the strength today to seek forgiveness for the hurt I have inflicted, ability to quickly forgive those who have hurt me, and for the understanding that God is in our midst, transforming our broken hearts into vessels of love and joy.

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