Duccio di Buoninsegna. Maesta (front, predella): The Massacre of the Innocents
Nor must we forget that our greatest happiness and our most authentic good are not always those which we dream of and long for. It is difficult for us to see things in their true perspective: we can only take in a very small part of complete reality. We only see the tiny piece of reality that is here, in front of us. We are inclined to feel that earthly existence is the only real one and often consider our time on earth to be the period in which all our longings for perfect happiness ought to be fulfilled.We forget that the first martyrs were the most innocent of all, victims of someone in a blind rage at being thwarted and fearful of being displaced. This year the slaughter of the innocents feels more personal than ever, after the Newtown tragedy. Read more about the Holy Innocents here.
There is anguish for us, twenty centuries later, in thinking of the slain babies and their parents. for the babies the agony was soon over; in the next world they would come to know whom they had died to save and for all eternity would have that glory. For the parents, the pain would have lasted longer; but at death they too must have found that there was a special sense in which God was in their debt, as he had never been indebted to any. They and their children were the only ones who ever agonized in order to save God's life ... (F. J. Sheed, To Know Christ Jesus)
In Conversation with God: Advent and Christmastide
The Curt Jester has more on our modern ties to the massacre of the innocents and Herod.