We live in a fallen world where injustice, calamity, and horrors are too frequent and too real. Spending just a few moments reading the news quickly reminds us of these truths. At first blush, it would be easy to consider the slaughter of the Holy Innocents who gave their lives as just one more example of the brokenness of our world, and as true as that is, such thinking falls short and misses the point. This day calls us to much more. These children weren't just murdered thoughtlessly by the decree of a cruel, bloodthirsty ruler. They died because of whom each one of them could have been. They gave their lives as a case of mistaken identity. They were killed because each of them was potentially the Christ, the Messiah, the King.
History bears out the fact that leaders of this world hate competition. Our culture hates even the suggestion that its self-centered, hedonistic, materialistic, 'anything goes' attitude is short-sighted and wrong. The 'ruler of this world' hates that reality of his subservience to the Prince of Peace. There is no room for competition. Such threats to the status quo will not be tolerated. They were not tolerated by Pharaoh. They were not tolerated by Herod. They are not tolerated today.
The Holy Innocents are considered martyrs because they gave their lives as ones mistaken for Jesus. Could our lives cause us to be similarly mistaken? That is what we should ponder on this day. Could the testimony of our words and deeds cause us to be confused with Christ? All too often, I know mine is indistinguishable from the rest of the world.
May God grant us grace to grow more and more like him each day and continue to forgive us when we falter.