I am sure many of you have been asked how your Christmas was. People are curious to know where you went, who you were with, or about that special gift. When people ask me, I say I had a good Christmas. This is the short answer, and allows the conversation to move on. But, if I was to be really honest I would say that this Christmas lacked the normal warmth and emotional glow that I usually feel. I suppose many of these feelings are caused by the preparations, decorations, music, and special food during the Christmas season. Never the less I felt robbed of these good feelings by the event that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As the details of the event unfolded, it was so hard to greet people with the usual, "Merry Christmas". The realities of the world had "crashed" the Christmas party. In a real way, I was robbed of the Christmas experience I was expecting. As I attended school Christmas programs, and watched my own children, I could not help but grieve with the parents in Newtown. Despair seemed to permiate the atmosphere. How could such an evil attack on children take place so close to Christmas? In a season where we sing "glory to God"; God appeared so powerless to protect the innocent. In the words of the Psalmist:
Do you show your wonders to the dead? Do those who are dead rise up and praise you? Is your love declared in the grave, your faithfullness in Destruction? Are your wonders known in the place of darkness, or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion? Psalm 88
Thankfully, I did not remain in a place of darkness, or in the land of oblivion. The tragic event helped me to gain a deeper understanding of who Jesus Christ is. No we do not serve a cruel Lord and master. He does not stand at a comfortable distance from the suffering and evil in this world. He came into this world were innocents is no safeguard against evil, and were children are special targets of destruction. Jesus suffered all of the evil that was present at Sandy Hook Elementary School and more. Our Lord not only suffed evil he overcame it. What would it be like to live in a world where there was no alternative to evil; no one to turn to except ourselves for any comfort? As we ponder the meaning of the incarnation, and realize what the world would be like without it, we want to shout "glory to God"!
Much of the ministry of the Alaska Mission for Christ occurs among children. Close to 5,000 children heard about Jesus through our 2012 summer programs. My Christmas journey this year made me so greatful for the AMC focus on young people, and children...it must be the wisdom of God.
I will sing of the LORD'S great love forever: with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself. Psalm 89