As we continue our journey through this season of Christmas, we come to the Feast of the Holy Innocents. The Feast that honors all of the young children who were slaughtered by King Herod in his attempt to kill the Baby Jesus. Many parishes will have a special Mass said on this night to honor all the innocent children who were martyred for Christ. Many of these masses incorporate all children who have been lost due to abortion, still birth or miscarriage. Even those who suffered some other form of untimely death.
During the Mass the priest reads several prayers and then invites those who have added names to the list to come and light a candle as the list of each child is read. Those who wish to pray for a lost child, lights a candle and sets it in a bucket filled with sand that is placed near the feet of the infant Jesus, as He is laying in the manger. There is beauty wrapped in the sadness… and it reminds us, that all life is sacred. As we watch the candles flicker and the light grow, we are reminded of all that has been lost.
From those first babies who were murdered… those who were martyred for Christ... to the countless children who are lost each year… each day, to abortion. As we listen to the prayers of the faithful, we are also reminded that even though a child may be lost to this life, Jesus Christ came so that we might have eternal life…. and as we sit mesmerized by the flickering flames and the soft glow… we are filled with hope. Filled with the Hope that only Christ can give, and even though there is aching in our hearts from losing something, because of our Faith, we know that God is good and that He is indeed the very Light that came to fill the world. A world that would be engulfed in darkness without Him. And we are reminded of the sacredness of life. All life. And as we process to leave the church, we look back at that tiny babe lying in the manger and at the candles burning low, and we know… we realize… that Christ has held each one tender babies close to His heart and filled them with His Light, and that Hope is enough to send us out into the dark night with the flame of Christ’s Love flickering in our own hearts… Merry Christmas.