The Holy Innocents

The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream
and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother,
flee to Egypt and stay there until I tell you.”
From Matthew 2:13-18

My family will gather again in a few days to continue our Christmastime festivities with a New Year’s Day reunion. For generations before I arrived, my dad’s Canadian family preserved this tradition which includes a blessing. Each year, we gather before our eldest family member to request this blessing. This one in turn asks God to provide for each one of us during the coming year.

My earliest memories include the sense of peace I felt as we knelt together in prayer. Afterward, I felt protected somehow, regardless of what life had in store for the next three hundred and sixty-five days. Perhaps this is the reason I felt the need to protect my younger sisters when our dad passed away. Perhaps this is the reason I was always careful to help my own sons to feel safe. Perhaps this is the reason I hold my granddaughters so close these days…

Gentle Jesus, your parents had a terrible time early on in your life. How frightening it must have been for them to witness such hatred toward a tiny baby. how their hearts must have broken over the deaths of the Innocents who were taken in your stead. Today, I thank you for revealing God’s unconditional love and care for me. I promise to pass it on to those you have placed in my care.

©2013 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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