Feast of the Holy Innocents

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Childermas (Feast of the Holy Innocents or Massacre of the Innocents) is observed in the West on December 28, the third day of (liturgical) Christmas. Feast of the Holy Innocents commemorates the male children of Bethlehem (two-years old and younger) slayed by Herod the Great in his desperate attempt to cling to the throne. These children are considered the first martyrs of Christianity.

Herod knew the ancient prophecies (of the coming Messiah) in the Old Testament and also heard the news of a soon-to-be new-born King, a Messiah who would take away the sins of the world, as told in the Gospel of Matthew.

I selected a poetic form called “Sestina” for the following poem. I hope this finds you in joyful spirits, good health, and cheerfully celebrating the 12 days of Christmas.

FEAST OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS

A Profane event for a feast,
Commemorating murdered children,
Males under two years, innocents,
Herod cleaved while seeking Jesus,
So he killed all Bethlehem boys,
And this day is holy,

On account of Christ’s holiness.
This immovable feast
Celebrates the boys,
The Substitute children,
Slain in bloodlust for Jesus,
Before losing their innocence.

Utterly innocent
And indubitably holy
(Only Christ Jesus),
Provides a just feast:
Lauding these children,
Each esteemed boy.

Butchered boys,
Robed in innocence,
Now exalted children,
And the King of holiness
Shelters your feast,
In the name of Jesus.

Your personal Jesus,
Beloved boys,
For you we feast,
Ill-fated innocents,
And your crown of holiness,
You cast as children.

The One Royal Child,
Victorious Jesus,
In justice and holiness,
Redeemer of the boys:
Assurance of innocence
Memorialized in a feast.

The feast of the Holy Innocents, ordained by Jesus,
For God’s delight, a veneration of martyred boys,
Children slain by Herod’s madness, to kill the One most holy.

Copyright © by Donald Lindsey
12/31/14
All Rights Reserved

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Scripture Reference

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Sestina: Christendom

Christendom

Christmastime, and the streets are filled with people:
Ragamuffins, thieves, shoppers and pagans.
The season is celebrated by heathens,
but Christmas is a season of joy,
and Sinterklaas may be a heretic;
conversely, you might ask, “Who are you to judge”?

Well, even Santa is accountable to He who is ready to judge
the quick and the dead—which is you, me, all the people;
heretical is as heretical does, so you define “heretic.”
Christmas is celebrated by millions of pagans,
yet 4th century Christians celebrated Christ’s birth with joy.
Alas, too many of us celebrate like heathens.

If you think you might be a heathen,
It’s important for you to know that there is a Judge,
that one of the fruits of the Spirit is joy,
which is a gift available to many people
even to the pagan,
and maybe even the heretic.

I was born and raised a bona fide heretic.
I was numbered with the heathens,
and I celebrated Christmas like a pagan.
But some time ago I was regenerated by the Righteous Judge.
This miracle happens to all sorts of people,
and if you’re so blessed by Jesus, you’ll know true joy.

I really haven’t cornered the market on joy;
I’m reborn in Christ, so it can happen to any heretic;
and God has regenerated millions of His people.
We must (at opportune times) speak the truth to every heathen:
Talk about where we’re going after we meet the Judge;
and talk about celebrating Christ’s birth vs. celebrating like a pagan.

Love your neighbors as you love yourself—even pagans,
and I guarantee it will bring you great joy.
To do this, you must first love the Lord—the Righteous Judge;
for if you don’t love God, it is likely that you’re a heretic,
more likely that you’re a heathen,
and most likely you’re numbered with Satan’s people.

Let’s celebrate Christmas heartily, with all heretics and pagans:
Speak of Christ’s birth (with love) to all heathens—share the joy!
Share the Gospel with all people, and do not judge.

Spare Dime

Say, don’t you remember, they called me Al; it was Al all the time.
Why don’t you remember, I’m your pal? Buddy, can you spare a dime?

―”Brother, Can You Spare a Dime,” lyrics by Yip Harburg (1931)

Spare Dime

Having coffee
at Rosie’s Diner with a new friend
fresh off the streets, talking about faith,
talking about sin,
eternal death,
and salvation.

I don’t believe in the salvation,”
he said. He took a slug of coffee.
“Don’t believe in the eternal death,
neither.” He belched and added, “Friend,
no matter how much you got the sin,
the soul don’t go nowheres, no matter what faith.”

I sipped, listening to rain hit the window. “Faith,”
I said, “is about hope and belief, and salvation;
it’s taught by the Master, Jesus. He purges sin
with His blood, but not for everyone.” The waitress brought more coffee.
He slurped his cup down, got a refill, belched, and said, “Friend,
You’re gettin’ it all wrong [….] see, this here life is death”

He pointed to his chest [….] ”Physical death,”
I said, “and eternal death, aren’t the same [….] Faith
is given by Jesus, and I want Him to be your friend.
He saves us from earthly death and eternal death, and that’s salvation,
for us, designed by Him
.” I sipped more coffee.
“He takes away our sin.”

“He transfers the sin
from us to Himself, and saves us from death.”
“I need a smoke and more coffee,”
he said, “before talking about the faith,”
and some chow, and that’s my salvation.”
We stepped into wind driven rain, and I felt the presence of a Friend.

He fumbled for a butt, struck a match, and said, “Friend,
I’m done full up with the sin,
[….] ain’t fit for no salvation”
only the death
He exhaled. “So where in hell you find this here salvation?”
I placed my hand on his heart. [….] ”Right here,” I said. “Let’s have food and coffee.”

My friend and I went inside for food and more talk of salvation.
We studied Romans 5 together, drank coffee, prayed, and he asked Jesus to forgive “the sin.”
“Still ain’t got much faith,” he said. I looked into his old blue eyes. “It’s ok,” I said, “Jesus has the death licked.”

© DB Lindsey Jr,

19 October 2011