Devotion for the Fourth Day of Christmas (Holy Innocents)

Now when they had gone, behold, 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 going to search for the Child to destroy Him.”

So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. He 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 called My Son.”

Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled:
“A voice was heard in Ramah,
Weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children;
And she refused to be comforted,
Because they were no more.” ~ Matthew 2:13-18

We’re still celebrating the joy of Christmas, and today we encounter the Holy Innocents, all the two-year-old and younger male children in Bethlehem who were slaughtered by Herod. He was protecting his throne from the One he considered an interloper, and his power was so important to him that he wantonly murdered all the male infants in the small town. It’s hard to imagine being so selfish and cruel, yet something similar happens all the time in our society today. Mothers decide having a child would disrupt their lifestyle, so they kill the baby before the birth. Men put pressure on the women in their lives to “get rid of the problem” of an unwanted pregnancy. Sometimes even the grandparents get involved and advocate for the killing of the precious child, a creation of God. Herod’s murders were pure evil, and so are the murders of unborn babies today.

Father God, open the eyes and hearts of mothers, fathers, and grandparents who are thinking about killing precious babies. Convict them of the evil they want to do and change their hearts. Give life to every child You have formed in the womb, every child You have created, every child You have plans for. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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