It’s an interesting day. A few days ago we were knee deep in sentimental hope for a better future as we celebrated the wonder of baby Jesus, or perhaps the more common Hallmark Channel Christmas specials manufactured to say something magically wonderful about love conquering all. Sometimes we combine the two with deft ease.
In any case here we are today on December 29, the Feast of the Holy Innocents transferred from Sunday, the Feast of St. Thomas Becket displaced by the children of Bethlehem, and the memorial of the Massacre at Wounded Knee.
The Holy Innocents are the children of Bethlehem killed on orders from King Herod who was suspicious that among them was a new born king destined to destroy all that he had built up. Considering the hundreds of others he had killed during his life, it was a small thing of no real consequence. Just a cautionary measure in the name of national security. Thomas Becket was the Archbishop of Canterbury who, on December 29, 1170, was assassinated at the presumed urging of King Henry II in the name of national security. On December 29, 1890 at Wounded Knee in South Dakota, elements of the 7th Cavalry massacred 200 Lakota women, children, elders, and men. Of course it was in the name of national security. Twenty soldiers were awarded Medals of Honor for it.
It’s a stark, humbling reminder that we are not so different from Herod. Nevertheless, the light that was born in Bethlehem cannot be extinguished by the darkness of evil we so easily embrace in the name of selfish interests. That light will triumph over all, and in it we are invited to live into a sure and certain hope that lasts for eternity, not for just an hour of television holiday reruns.