After three French hens, there were four calling birds. The three stood for the cardinal virtues of faith, hope and love, while the four represented the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The actual feasts for these days, 12/27 and 28, are for the disciple John and the “Holy Innocents”, respectively.
John the disciple is traditionally the only disciple who did not die a martyr, though he was exiled on an Island. The ” Holy Innocents” are the baby boys who were murdered by order of King Herod when he was trying to kill Baby Jesus. Celebrating John is understandable, but I had never thought of this before now. Nor had I even considered the innocent children who gave their lives for Christ, completely unaware of their sacrifice.
I cannot bring to mind very many men who could claim they had done so much for the cause of Christ without even willing themselves to do so. What love Jesus must have for those brothers of His, born when He was born, without fan fare and dying without actually having lived, so that Jesus could then live and die for all of us.
What beauty there is in considering the sacrifice of the ” Holy Innocents”! It’s the kind of beauty that pierces the heart with it’s bittersweetness. I will never think of the 4th day of Christmas the same again.