I am intimidated at the thought of writing a post that could accurately describe or debrief this past week. I don't even know what I think yet. Our world was shaken with the shooting at the Clackamas Town Center on Tuesday, just 25 minutes from my home. And then again on Friday, we were all stunned beyond words by the horrible shooting in Newtown, Connecticut."it seems like every day,
there’s one more goodbye to say,
one more hard prayer to pray.
and each breaking report,
makes my broken heart contort.
all my words have fallen short.
i’ll pray through all my shock and tears,
i’ll ask my faithful God who hears,
to meet us in our pain and fears.
so once again for home i long,
to fall in arms of peace so strong,
and be at last where i belong."
"Long lay the world, in sin and error pining."
This week more than many before, people in America are asking hard questions. They're trying to understand how these kinds of things could be happening, why they're happening, what we can do to heal, and what we can do to prevent this from happening again. But in reality, we are realizing that we can't "prevent" this from happening again. More than anything, this week has been a hard, unwanted, and ugly reminder that we live in a dark world. A fallen world. A sinful world.
"Long lay the world, in sin and error pining,
'Till He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope; the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn."
And that is why He came. That is Christmas. The gift of Christmas is hope.
We do live in a dark world. And the darker it is, the brighter His light shines. This Christmas will be different for so many people. It will be different for me because I will understand the beauty of this hope more than any Christmas before. Because He came, I can face the world. Because He walked among us, I can as well. Because He died and rose again, I fear not. Because He walks each day with me, I have life, and life abundantly.
"And in despair I bowed my head:
'There is no peace on earth,' I said,
'For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.'
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
'God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.'"