Sadness at Christmas

The unfolding events today at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, defy belief.  What happened today is a parent’s worst nightmare.  Such horror piercing the Christmas season with grief and utter meaninglessness catches us all off guard.  What are we to do with a world so filled with injustice and terror?

Screen Shot 2012-12-14 at 3.04.38 PMThe repulsive story from the first Christmas and the birth of Jesus speak to me.  Matthew 2:16-18 tells us about the murder of the male babies in Bethlehem ordered by Herod.  This event is rarely included in the sweet stories of Christmas.  The central figure Herod reminds us of the potential of human evil. People had high hopes for Israel since Herod had the genius to know how to make peace with Rome. He was religiously Jewish although born of Arab descent.  But from the start, he was a political animal. He understood how to use power, and as the years crept up on him he used power more and more destructively. He was suspicious of almost everyone.  He married ten times and had his favorite wife murdered when he doubted her loyalty.  He feared the success of his sons and ultimately had two of them murdered to protect his throne.  Though very bright he was ruthless and brutal.  We are not surprised by the slaughter of baby boys of Bethlehem.  It fits his character.  Herod’s presence in the Christmas story reminds us of the dark face of evil and its power to destroy what is most precious in the world. (We are getting another glimpse of that evil today!) It reminds us that power will do whatever it takes to maintain supremacy.  At the same time, the actions of Herod show us how great God’s love is that he would enter into the world so frail and vulnerable.

I believe there is another reason for Matthew telling us the story of the slaughter ordered by Herod.  It prepares us for the horror of the cross.  If evil is so determined to take the life of Jesus at his birth, we can anticipate the outcome of his ministry. The surprise, of course, is that Jesus willingly faced the brutality and shame of the cross. Indeed, this is why Jesus came. Not only did God take on flesh in a broken world, he came so that the evil of it all might fall upon him…so that we might have confidence that God loves us and is for us even at a time like this, and so that we might have confidence that as Jesus was raised up evil will be conquered through him.

Today many families in Connecticut cannot believe this.  They feel no hope, only loss.  As we learn more about what happened this morning, let us pray.  Pray for them, the families affected by this heinous crime and that God will bring healing to a grieving community and a shocked nation. Pray that what has happened will deepen the longings of our hearts and that many will turn to Him in repentance and seek forgiveness. Pray that God will show us all how precious life is.  (Hug those you love and tell them you do.) Finally, pray for the coming of our true and loving King.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Miriam on December 14, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Thank you, Worth, for posting this. It reminds us of God’s love, even in dark times.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Regina on December 15, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Prayers for Newtown, Connecticut.
    Abba Father, may You shed Your mercy and grace on them with overwhelming peace that transcends all understanding. In Jesus’ name, Amen ♥ . . . †`

    Our country is grieving. Each child who has been slaughtered belongs to each of us and each slain adult is a member of our family. It is impossible to explain the horror to ourselves and to our survivors. We need to hold each other’s hands and look into each other’s eyes and say, “I am sorry.” -Maya Angelou

    Praise be to the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. -2 Corinthians 1:3-4
    My friend Gail from Johnson City, Tenn. shared this prayer and a beautiful illustration of Jesus walking with children, one in His arms and the other holding His hand as they are smiling and happy in His presence.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Sandy on February 13, 2017 at 3:00 am

    Thank you.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: