I remember very clearly the first time I saw Cogniet's "Massacre of the innocents". Cogniet's paintings can be a bit mannerly but there's nothing polite or bland about terror and Cogniet's depiction of a terrified mother desperately trying to keep her child quiet lest they be discovered by Herod's soldiers as they massacre all the male children under the age of two in Bethlehem captures some of the essence of terror. Who can doubt looking at that poor woman's face that she is out of options and out of luck and that she knows in her heart of hearts that she and her son are next. In all the years since I first saw it Cogniet's painting has stayed with me as a referent for the words "terror" and "atrocity". Luther famously remarked that Christmas takes place 'in the shadow of the Cross' what he was getting at was that while the story of the Nativity celebrates the joy of Jesus' birth it also tells of terror, flight, and the horror of infanticide.