Friday, December 28, 2012

Wholly Innocent

Another sleepless night, going over the Christmas Joy felt with the beginning of the Christmas Season and tempered by what follows.

Today, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates Childermas, or Childrens Mass, or, more likely known as the Feast of Holy Innocents as part of the liturgical year that details and follows the life of Jesus Christ. 

The exact time it happened is not known, but estimated to be within 2 years of the appearance of the Star to the Magi., according to one source.  Whenever, it was, it was a malicious and horrifying massacre of the children of Bethlehem and surrounding area, ordered by King Herod, to make sure the Savior would not live to become King. (short version)

This Christmas Season has included the following:  never forgetting an unexpected tragedy in Connecticut, the remembrance of my eldest brother's death the day before Christmas Eve, the death of a young child ON Christmas Eve, the death of my husband's friend and former co-worker ON Christmas Eve, the death of another friend of my husband's on Christmas DAY, and the remembrance of the death of my beloved grandfather the day after Christmas.  In my world this Holiday, I had one day 'off' followed by today, the 28th, and Holy Innocents. 

That's a lotta sorrow if you think of it that way.  But, as St Augustine wrote, "The end of the present life is for them the beginning of glory."

I believe that is how we should see it, but not how we do.  We feel the losses.  We grieve so pitifully.  We miss the departed Souls and the lives they may have had if they'd lived.  And, if we let it, we allow the thoughts and emotions to bring us into a dark place that we are not meant to stay.  If you believe what Augustine wrote then we can't possibly stay in that hole.  We are meant to be a joyful people. That doesn't mean we go through life grinning with unawareness of reality and never feel, appropriately, sad.

Anyone can relate to this, of any or no religion, who hasn't been living as a hermit in a cave with no contact with another heart.  We are social beings.  We crave all kinds of love in our life.  Without it, a voice is always at our backs whispering, "Something is missing".  That something is not in the latest pill advertised, either.

Why do you think almost every commercial or posted ad you view has the smiling-happy people WITH another person?  We are supposed to imagine that their product or service will bring that kind of happiness to us if we buy it.  Simple enough. (Personally, I hate attempts at manipulation like that, but it's a business.)

The real joy we feel, if we can remember, was when we had our innocence.  There was a time in our lives before the manipulation, hidden agendas, not-so-hidden agendas, crimes against our innocence by others, or influences of those who had no right to rob us of it.  We were trusting, loving, inter-dependent, affectionate, outgoing, brave, questioning, joyful beings once.  Would it not be the nicest feeling to wake in the morning and feel that way again? 

When we hurt, then, we ran into the arms of one who loved us and who we loved, even if we couldn't articulate it.  Whose arms to we run to now?

I watch the news and want to scream at times, WHERE IS OUR DAILY JOY?  Many believe in a just and loving Father that cares for us and wants that for us but still cannot allow that be 'the thing' that brings us joy.  We have to have things 'our' way.  Well, God doesn't operate the Burger King or duet with Frank Sinatra, so we remain disappointed (or deluded). 

The world then becomes a constant struggle against darkness, evil, dysfunction, loneliness, and the killing of innocence.  We are left with only one weapon, but it's enough.  Love.

When we fight, with our weapon, we gain light, goodness, repair of broken hearts and souls, healthy relationships with family and friends, and are able to save our children by letting them be children for as long as they are supposed to be and grow to good and loving adults.

If the children aren't pressed into adulthood before their time, if the children are not raised in environments that force them to hide and be afraid, if they aren't exposed to activities of adult-content either real or televised, if they are allowed to keep their innocent joy longer, maybe, just maybe, they can keep a spark of it into maturity. 

But, Herod seems to be alive and well and still at work destroying Innocence.  We really need to keep our weapons sharp and at the ready.

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