The Massacre of the Innocents

The Massacre of the Innocents

It’s hard to know what to think,
what to hope for, or believe,
when it comes to that passage;
that awful,
horrible,
bloody passage:
the massacre of the innocents.

We proclaim it
from the pulpit
every year;
as a testimony
to God’s loving concern
and unfailing protection
of Jesus.

But what about
those other children?
What about
those other mothers
and fathers –
the ones who weep
unconsolably?

Did God not care
about their losses?
Was their grief of no account?
Were their babies expendable –
unwitting, unwilling sacrifices
made to protect
the one God loved?

Was it allowed to happen
as evidence
that an ancient prophet was right?
Was one long-dead man’s word
more important
than a hundred
newly-born lives?

Why bother with any foretelling?
Who needs angels
or stars
or wise men?
It wasn’t as though
our Father needed
to establish Jesus’ pedigree.

Surely it was enough
for our Lord
to be born, miraculously;
to preach, powerfully;
to bless, heal, and forgive
abundantly;
to show forth God’s love
infinitely…

And what of
the celestial caution
given by another prophet:
“I desire mercy,
not sacrifice,”
are those words
to be ignored?

It troubles me,
this tale
of lives lost,
senselessly,
pointlessly;
and the wide swath
of suffering;

just because
one ruler
was insecure;
fearful and desperate
to retain his power
over the people –
at any cost.

And that’s the key;
the solution to the quandary
of “where is God in this?”
The answer is:
Nowhere.
The tragedy is in
an act of human freedom.

The horror comes
from the misuse of free will,
a sin against a gift from God;
a corruption of the soul,
when greed and fear
and grasping ego
overcome the most basic humanity.

Herod believed in violence,
and based his faith on the sword;
he made a blood offering
to the god of death,
sacrificing other peoples’ children
to sustain
his evil reign.

Actions so wicked,
so incomprehensibly
heartless and vile
that we shudder
to even hear of them
two thousand years
later.

Nothing like that
could ever happen now;
there are no kingdoms
that rely on violence,
the sacrifice of blood
in exchange for power
is a thing of the past.

Deborah Beach Giordano
© January 9, 2010

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About inklingscommunity

I am a struggling Christian, committed pacifist, near-obsessive recycler, incurable animal lover, inveterate tree-hugger; a nature mystic, a socialized introvert, an advocate for the vulnerable, an opponent of exploiters.
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