Tomorrow is Christmas, but I must admit that Christmas Eve has always been my favorite time of year. When I was a child it seemed “magical,” as we waited for Santa to bring us the gifts we would open the next morning. I know now, that though Jesus most likely wasn’t born on the night of December 24, the real gift of Christmas is what we celebrate on this most loved of holidays. I also know, as a former biblical counselor on a large church staff, that this is the time of year that heightens all our emotions–whether joyous or heart-wrenching. Right now I can’t help but think of the many families impacted by the most recent school shooting. Regardless of where they stand on the purpose for Christ’s birth, this has got to be the most difficult time for them that any human can experience.
We’ve all lost loved ones at some point in our lives, but our children–torn away by a murderer’s bullet? No pain can compare–except perhaps that of the Father, as He watched His only Son suffer and die at the hands of His own creation. And that’s the answer I give when asked, “Where was God when this horrible massacre took place?” He was where He always is, sitting on the throne in complete control and yet weeping with those who weep, hurting with those who hurt, mourning with those who mourn–because He’s been there and He knows better than anyone the tragic outcome of evil, selfish choices. The Scriptures say that God bottles our tears, and that one day in heaven He will wipe them all away. Until then, He stands waiting, His nail-scarred hands extended and ready to carry us through to the other side.
I see practical and creative ways popping up all over where we can offer assistance to those who are experiencing grief beyond imagining right now–places to donate meals, money, flowers, etc.–and I encourage you all to take advantage of those opportunities whenever possible. But I also encourage you to pray, not just now when the pain is fresh but for a long time to come because this isn’t something anyone will get past quickly or easily–possibly not ever on this earth. We may never personally meet any of those who have lost loved ones in this shooting, but we can give them a selfless gift at Christmas–a commitment to pray for them for as long as we have breath to do so. Then one day, when we have “graduated to heaven” and met those precious little ones who went on ahead of us, God will wipe away our tears as well.
A very blessed Christmas to you all, beloved.