4th Day of Christmas
Feast Day of the Holy Innocents is a somber and reflective day. It commemorates the innocent children who were killed by Herod in his attempt to eliminate the baby who would be King (Matthew 2). On this day, we also remember all innocent people who have been subject to violence or death. We ask God to frustrate the work of tyrants and for the grace to bring healing to all who are suffering.
Reading: Bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!" Read Ephesians 1:3-14
Collect: Almighty God, out of the mouths of children you manifest your truth, and by the death of the Holy Innocents at the hands of evil tyrants you show your strength in our weakness: We ask you to mortify all that is evil within us, and so strengthen us by your grace, that we may glorify your holy Name by the innocence of our lives and the constancy of our faith even unto death; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who died for us and now lives with you and the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.
Pray the Jesus Prayer for 5 minutes focusing on how Jesus is Lord or choose from another prayer practice. (See John Michael Talbot explain the Jesus Prayer Part 2)
Gratitude Journal: Write 3 things for which you are grateful.
Work on a puzzle.
Read or tell stories with children.
Donate to a charity that works with children.
Make Four Calling Birds. Post a photo #12TideCbus
Ancient Text Reflection:
A Sermon by St. Quodvultdeus, Bishop (AD 407-450) Sermo 2 de Symbolo
A tiny child is born, who is a great king. Magi are led to him from afar. They come to adore one who lies in a manger and yet reigns in heaven and on earth. When they tell of one who is born a king, Herod is disturbed. To save his kingdom he resolves to kill him, though if he would have faith in the child, he himself would reign in peace in this life and forever in the life to come.
Why are you afraid, Herod, when you hear of the birth of a king? He does not come to drive you out, but to conquer the devil. But because you do not understand this you are disturbed and in a rage, and to destroy one child whom you seek, you show your cruelty in the death of so many children. You are not restrained by the love of weeping mothers or fathers mourning the deaths of their sons and daughters, nor by the cries and sobs of the children. You destroy those who are tiny in body because fear is destroying your heart. You imagine that if you accomplish your desire you can prolong your own life, though you are seeking to kill Life himself.
Yet your throne is threatened by the source of grace, so small, yet so great, who is lying in the manger. He is using you, all unaware of it, to work out his own purposes freeing souls from captivity to the devil. He has taken up the sons of the enemy into the ranks of God’s adopted children. The children die for Christ, though they do not know it. The parents mourn for the death of martyrs. The child makes of those as yet unable to speak fit witnesses to himself. See the kind of kingdom that is his, coming as he did in order to be this kind of king.
See how the deliverer is already working deliverance, the savior already working salvation. But you, Herod, do not know this and are disturbed and furious. While you vent your fury against the child, you are already paying him homage, and do not know it. How great a gift of grace is here! To what merits of their own do the children owe this kind of victory? They cannot speak, yet they bear witness to Christ. They cannot use their limbs to engage in battle, yet already they bear off the palm of victory.