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Holy Innocents

This day, this very day, has always been special to me, it’s my birthday. My parents explained as soon as I could understand that this day was Holy Innocents. They gave it no more than the name. I heard it as innocence, the day of those who are innocent. I knew, as I grew, that I wasn’t, but it felt good. My day.

Only much, much later did I become aware of the slaughter and mayhem associated with this festival. Christmas is just too pretty to be spoiled by such a day, hardly a feast. But if we‘ve seen beyond the tinsel at all we will have seen a child, born in the night, a long way from home. And the air is chill in a way that no Yule log can touch.

Remember it began like this, in a stable. And for us the story is so often compressed, in days we must jump perhaps two years. And the rumours of a birth have circulated. People who know about these things have come from another place. They are seeking one named Joshua? Or could it be Jesus? At any rate a small child, still here in Bethlehem. And a kindly king welcomes them in for clearly they are of some importance and such invitation would be expedient, even diplomatic.


Andrew Pratt (born 1948)
Words © Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England,
Please include any reproduction for local church and school use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.

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