Good morning. A baby boy has been at the heart of my Christmas this year. A young couple who live at the top of our house became parents just a few weeks ago. It’s amazing to hear the cries of a tiny child drifting down the stairs. The sight of a young mother and her baby, with an anxious dad looking on, has presented us with our very own nativity scene. Today, in the Christian calendar, is a day dedicated to the memory of the children who were part of the first Christmas story. They appear just as the wise men from the east leave the stage. The paranoid King Herod, terrified that the newly-born Jesus will one day rise up and displace him, orders his soldiers to kill all little boys under the age of two who live in the vicinity of Bethlehem. It’s an ugly incident and we tend to airbrush it out of the story. But we shouldn’t do that. The slaughter of the innocents is a feature of today’s world. Ancient Bethlehem is not very far from modern Aleppo and the screams of children are as audible today as they ever were. As I’ve snuggled a little baby in my arms this Christmas and wondered at his sleeping innocence, I’ve tried hard to hold the parents of the children in Syria and so many other places in my heart and prayed with all my might that we may soon see a day dawn when our children and our children’s children may live in a more peaceful world. How long? dear Lord, how long? before the children of our times can face a new day without fear? Disturb and stir us to build a future for them that we can all be proud of. Amen.