Today, 28th December, is traditionally celebrated as the Feast of the Holy Innocents, or Childermass. The biblical account of Herod’s mass slaughter of young children can be found in Matthew 2:13-18. It is a reminder that Christmas is more than just meaningless merriment. Rather it is about God intervening and bringing hope into a world of often indescribable cruelty and darkness.
Childermass reminds us of two contemporary key human rights issues. One is the issue of migrants and refugees. Jesus and His earthly family had to flee to Egypt as refugees to escape political persecution. Today, in the Middle East, millions of young children are caught up in similar desperate migrations.
But Childermass also reminds us how children are often the victims of the choices of others. The choices made by the ‘wise’ men (who weren’t very wise at all) and King Herod meant death for the young children who were denied any choice in the matter. Which highlights the crassness of those in Ireland’s pro-abortion lobby who are campaigning to have the nation’s Constitutional protection of unborn children repealed. It’s hard to believe that someone thought it was appropriate to celebrate the Nativity with a pro-abortion slogan and created the hashtag #choiceforxmas.
Sadly it demonstrates that the human race, after more than 2000 years, still has a long way to go in the search for decency and humanity.