In the liturgical calendar, Christmas Day is immediately followed by the feast of St. Stephen, the very first martyr of the church. Two days after that is the feast of the Holy Innocents, honoring those children under the age of 2 who were murdered by the brutal tyrant Herod. As many wiser than I have observed, our celebration of the birth of the Christ Child is marred by man’s sinful desire to stamp him out, as well as those associated with him.
Yet we need not look to historical events 2,000 years in the past to appreciate that following Christ has consequences. This past month, more than 1,000 Christians in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh were subject to violence at the hands of Hindu mobs.