Today is the Day of the Holy Innocents, the grim coda to the story of the Nativity. The Magi stopped first in Jerusalem to inquire where they might find the baby born to be a king. When Herod the Great found out they had left his city for Bethlehem and then returned to their own land, he ordered the execution of all male children two years and under in Bethlehem and surrounding towns. However, having been warned in a dream, Joseph fled with Mary and the infant Jesus to Egypt.
I contemplated this story as I watched the 50 children who attended the vacation Bible school Luz Maria organized for today and the past two days. People here are on vacation until January 8, so Luz Maria thought it would be a good time to employ the VBS teaching techniques she learned from volunteers from Minnesota at Tierra de Gracia Lutheran Farm. The Minnesotans visited the agricultural mission project in the state of Monagas and taught VBS in three different locations.
The first day less than 10 children attended, but Luz Maria asked each child to bring some of their friends next time and the next day we hosted 30 children. Armando Ramos, resident pastor at Tierra de Gracia Lutheran Farm, visited us on his way home to Santa Lucia for the holidays, and was pleasantly surprised at the number of kids. Of course, there were even more today. Luz Maria was assisted by her daughters Yepcey and Sarai.
We went to some expense to buy materials for crafts, but the children love such activities. These are kids who make working kites out of discarded plastic shopping bags. The theme of lessons and crafts was God's gift to the world in Jesus.
So I thought the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem and about the prayer Yepcey's husband, Eliezer, says every morning for the children that have been placed in his care as a schoolteacher. He thanks God for them as well as for his own children and asks God to look after all of them. Then I prayed, too, that He would protect all children from the forces in the world that would corrupt or destroy all that is good and beautiful.
Feliz Navidad y un prospero año nuevo.