The year departs in a winding sheet of snow.
Tomorrow: a Feast Day. The blue lips of Herod's Holy Innocents beg more of us than memory; more than a facile exchange of swords for napalm, poison gas, cluster bombs.
Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, but still we seek symbolic deaths, atonement -- and all the while the Child remains hidden: beyond armies, and beyond us too.
When the wise men had departed, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, "Out of Egypt I have called my son."
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 2:13-18)