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The Forgotten

Alan G. Hefner

Having asked myself why I post the Blood of Christmas as my featured article every year I have to answer the question. The pondering process has been pretty amazing within itself. When first writing the article three main ideas were formed in my mind: the killing of the children, some Bibles say just boy children under two while others read children; the suffering, agony, and mayhem which must have occurred, and the complete forgetting of the incident during the joyous Christmas season. But, at first, I was struck that an all-loving and merciful God would allow such an event to occur; I indicated with the article how it could have been afforded. However, this seemed to be the case.

The more I thought of the incident the murdered children became symbols. Yes, symbols of other religious transgressions. The first transgression is within the title of this article - the forgotten. People are so enthralled in the seasonal celebration with family and friends that those not fortunate enough to be included within their gatherings are forgotten like the slain children. Christians profess that Christ was born, became incarnate, so to die for the sins of mankind; then should not everyone be included within his birthday celebration of Christmas? Should this include those having no family, no love ones who live alone, the homeless, those in convalescence homes, hospitals, and prisons? No, we cannot invite everyone into our homes, but phone calls and remembrances can be super gifts of love. Did not he command man, above all, to love one another?

And what about the children in the Christmas Bible story, where did they go? Christians are famous for their profession of that unless you know Jesus you are not saved! They did not know Jesus but died for him, permitting his escape into Egypt. Not knowing Jesus, where did these slain children go; into Sheol, the Jewish version of Hell or Hades? Does this means these infants were instruments in God's plan that just happened to be born in the wrong place at the wrong time? Even Augustine proclaimed an unbaptized infant goes to hell, he was canonized. This shows that Christians considered the possibility of God sending the unbaptized and stillborn to hell and in shame came up with Limbo.

This opens the bigger question, what about all of those dying before Jesus and even those dying during the lifetime of Jesus before John the Baptist and he introduced baptism, the washing away of sin, or were not fortunate enough to have been baptized. Are all of these unfortunate people in hell? How can they be? Jesus is said to have gotten the concept of hell from the Essenes or conceived it from the constant burning fires of the Jerusalem refuge dump. Another possibility would be Hades, but Christians surely would not want to admit their leader barrowed a pagan concept. Like sin, hell was firmly established by Jesus. The son shall make you free, or vice versa. However, there is a snag in this argument of the necessity of baptism for salvation; it is not known that the good thief was baptized but from the cross Christ told him that from that day he would be with him in paradise.

Such a statement weakens the Church's argument that only the grace of God and salvation comes through the Church; Christ's salvation of the good thief is an example of God doing as he pleases, not having to follow rules. Others might say that the good thief, even though professing his belief in Christ, had not followed procedure justifying salvation. Christ disagreed. The good thief, like the slain children, is the example of what many see as exceptions, others as the unforgotten. They do not fit into the general rules of religious dogma; however, they are part of the life plan. Perhaps this larger plan of life should be our major focus, the celebration of Christmas is just a part of it; the slain children are part of it reminding us that everyone is included in this plan. Being Christian is participation for some but not all. Other religions and races participate too; everyone is important and is not to be forgotten.

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