Monday, December 28, 2015

The Fourth Day Of Christmas 2015

The Slaughter of the Innocents (detail from the Joseph Portal), Antoni Gaudi, early 20th century

Today is the Festival of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs. It commemorates the often misunderstood event that occurred after the Magi visited Mary and Joseph. According to scripture the “Three Kings” did not appear at the birth of Jesus in the stable. Instead, they saw Mary and Joseph and Jesus at a “house” (Matthew 2:11).  Following their visit they innocently told King Herod about the birth and were ignorant of his desire to kill the child. To ensure that Jesus would not survive Herod ordered that all male babies two years old and younger in Bethlehem be killed (Matthew 2:16).

Music for the day is the Coventry Carol from the 16th century mystery play, The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors

Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child,
Bye bye, lully, lullay.
Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child,
Bye bye, lully, lullay.

O sisters too, how may we do
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we sing,
"Bye bye, lully, lullay"?

Herod the king, in his raging,
Chargèd he hath this day
His men of might in his own sight
All young children to slay.

That woe is me, poor child, for thee
And ever mourn and may
For thy parting neither say nor sing,
"Bye bye, lully, lullay."

For context here is a full image of the Joseph Portal at Antoni Guadi's Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família in Barcelona. The Slaughter of the Innocents is at the lower right.


Photos and Illustrations:; photography by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

Text:; Coventry Carol

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