Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs 12/28/2020

Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:

Today, December 28, 2020 is when the Christian Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs.  The Church remembers these innocent victims as martyrs as they died for the One who came to die for them.  This post is devoted to one of the Feast Days that the historic Christian Church observed that are generally neglected today.  I pray that you find this message beneficial in your devotions this or another day.

“Matthew’s Gospel tells of King Herod’s vicious plot against the infant Jesus after being ‘tricked’ by the Wise Men.  Threatened by the one ‘born King of the Jews,’ Herod murdered all the [male] children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or younger (Matthew 2:16-18).  These ‘innocents,’ commemorated just three days after the celebration of Jesus’ birth, remind us not only of the terrible brutality of which human beings are capable but more significantly of the persecution Jesus endured from the beginning of His earthly life.  Although Jesus’ life was providentially spared at this time, many years later, another ruler, Pontius Pilate, would sentence the innocent Jesus to death. ” 1

The verse or theme for this feast is “Alleluia.  Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.  Alleluia.”  It is from Psalm 116:15.

Old Testament          Jeremiah 31:15-17

Psalm             Psalm 54 (antiphon v. 4)

Epistle            Revelation 14:1-5

Gospel            Matthew 2:13-18

There are two hymns appointed for this day: “Sweet Flowerets of the Martyr Band” and “When Aimless Violence Takes Those We Love” as found on pages 969 and 764, respectively, in the Lutheran Service Book. 

Collect of the Day:

Almighty God, the martyred innocents of Bethlehem showed forth Your praise not by speaking but by dying.  Put to death in us all that is in conflict with Your will that our lives may bear witness to the faith we profess with our lips; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with the You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Pastor Jim Tuell

1 Treasury of Daily Prayer, Scot A Kinnaman, General Editor, Concordia Publishing House, Saint Louis, MO., 2008, p, 1065.

The Massacre of the Innocents Giotto di Bondone c. 1304-1305
Massacre of the Innocents – Lucas Cranach the Elder c. 1515

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