The Slaughter of the Innocents. Those are the words that came to mind when I heard about the grade one students shot at the school in Connecticut. The phrase was actually first used to describe another Christmas massacre of little children; the killing of all the baby boys in Bethlehem by King Herod. One can only imagine the horror of hearing soldiers bang at the door, seeing them barge into your home with their bloodied swords and watching helplessly as they executed your child. The writer of the Biblical book of Matthew describes the screams of anguish and unrestrained weeping of the mothers who witnessed this slaughter. They refuse to be comforted because their children are dead.
Yet we know that one child survived the Bethlehem murder spree. Jesus’ parents are warned of the danger and manage to flee on time to save their little son’s life. And what a difference that one child went on to make in the world.
In the midst of all the terrible sadness over what happened in Newtown this week it is important and helpful to remember that many children were saved, some of them because of the heroic and sacrificial efforts of their teachers. Who knows what difference some of those children will go on to make in the world?