Reflections: The Holy Innocents, Martyrs

Today’s Reading: Matthew 2:13-18

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 52:13-54:10; Matthew 2:13-23

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. (Matthew 2:16)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. A blessed and joy filled Christmas to all the saints of God as we celebrate the birth of our savior Jesus Christ!  As we celebrate Christmas and the birth of Christ there seems to be a lot of death lurking in the background.  Hymns are being sung, families are still gathering, and the tide of Christmas is still on the increase.  On Holy Innocents we mark the darkest day of Christmas.  The day that we remember the rage and anger of King Herod and the death of the innocent males under the age of two in Bethlehem.  

The Magi have arrived, gifts have been delivered and the true King is worshiped.  Herod, on the other hand, is furious.  The Magi arrived to worship the king and it is not him!  Herod wanted the glory and honor of being the only true king.  In Herod’s mind there is only one king, and it is himself.  The child the Magi speak of must be destroyed.  

Yet it was not the right time for Christ to die.  The Son of God has come into this world to die but not as an infant but as a grown man.  The fulfillment of the entire law needs to take place.  A circumcision, a baptism, all the requirements of the law completed and then the final sacrifice and shedding of blood.  The deliverance of God’s people in His Son Jesus Christ will come at just the right time.  

On Holy Innocents we remember the babies of Bethlehem who were killed because of Herod’s pride, arrogance, and selfishness.  We see ourselves in Herod as we tolerate the plethora of cultural behaviors that normalize the killing of innocent children before they are born under the guise of choice and freedom when it is really a choice of convenience and selfishness.  It is in Christ that we find our hope in the forgiveness of sins and life through His life and death.  In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Almighty God, the martyred innocents of Bethlehem showed forth Your praise not by speaking but by dying.  Put to death in us all that is in conflict with Your will that our lives may bear witness to the faith we profess with our lips; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen (TODP 1065).

-Pastor Timothy Paul Davis is Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church  in Athens Georgia.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Patrick Sturdivant, Development and Marketing Executive at Higher Things.

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.