slaughter of the innocents

The Old Testament and gospel readings for Epiphany function as point and counterpoint. Isaiah offers a word of great comfort to those who have been so long in darkness. Impoverished as the hearers have been, honor and fortune are on their way. It's a message of rejoicing: the light that has dawned will make all who see it radiant.
January 3, 2012

On Christmas day we join choirs of angels and raise the strains of “Joy to the World!” Our children sing sweetly of the little Lord Jesus so peacefully asleep on the hay that he doesn’t cry out when animals wake him with off-key parts to the lullaby. But then the music changes drastically. We hear wailing and loud lamentation. Ancient mother Rachel weeps inconsolably over the loss of her children. Must we listen to this? Have we no season to block out the sounds of grief?
December 14, 2004