I’m sure, like many of you, that my brain has taken only brief breaks from thinking about the Sandy Hook community over the past few days. Every time I’ve woken up in the middle of the night one of my first thoughts is of the parents who are probably functioning on a lot of grief and a little sleep in the middle of the night. The past few nights as Drew has cried out in his sleep (missing his puppy or blanket) it’s given me a new perspective on being woken up… I’m thankful for it because it means he’s still here with us. I’ve gone in and rubbed his sweet little head of hair and teared up.
Seven years ago my friend Krista lost her sister in a car accident because of a reckless driver. Bre was doing medical missions work in Africa at the time and the accident didn’t make any sense… Bre was healing and helping… And seven years later I still remember that her mom said that Bre was a gift for the 25 years she was on earth and that Bre was just entrusted to her for whatever time God had allotted. It was a perspective that I can hope to have as a parent, that Drew is a precious and amazing gift for whatever time God has given him to AJ and I. It’s a perspective I thought about often when the doctors told us there was a great chance Drew would either die in utereo or soon after birth. And I’m praying that He will give such a hope-filled sense to the parents who tragically lost their children this week (and I don’t mean just the six and seven year old children, but the parents who lost their children who are my age or older who bravely protected their students).
It’s so easy for me to stop there, to feel such empathy for the families who lost their children… and then, in my (justified) anger over the situation I need to remember that we are not called to vengeance in a situation like this… as a Christian I am called to be a person who behaves similarly to the Amish community who, after the shooting at their school in 2006, embraced and loved the family of the shooter. I want to be a person who acknowledges the brokenness of people and chooses to heal and restore.
Are you wondering why I have included this in the Twelve Days of Christmas? It’s for this reason… because here is what I believe to be the truest meaning of Christmas, it has nothing to do with hot chocolate, decorations or Christmas trees… The pastor that has taught me and edified me more than any other wrote this recently (to see complete script click here):
But the message of Christmas is that Jesus came to be with us in this world – Emmanuel – and to save us from everything that’s wrong with the world and with us. With his life he showed us a better way to live. In his death, he absorbed all the world’s evil and the judgment for our sins. By his resurrection, he conquered our greatest enemy and opened the way to eternal life. And now he offers us what he offered to the people of his time – peace in a troubled world, hope for a better day, and love that triumphs over the worst kind of evil. And while Advent reminds us of his coming to earth as a child, it also looks forward to his coming again, in power and might, to set the world right, and to wipe every tear from our eyes.
Senior Pastor: Grace Chapel, Lexington, Massachusetts