Yesterday afternoon, when I arrived home from the church, Tanya was decorating the house and playing Christmas music. It was glorious. Absentmindedly I turned the television to one of the local network stations only to find the tragic news of the shootings in Connecticut.
By now you have no doubt heard the news about the shooting in Connecticut. At this point 27 people are known dead. At least 20 of these are little children. In that moment of recognition, there was a grief and sadness that hit my soul like a kick in the gut. How could this be? This is a time of Joy, Hope, Peace, and Love?
With next week comes the winter’s longest night and shortest day. But this year the longest night has come early. Darkness has dampened our Christmas spirit. Our world seems choked with violence that mostly we cannot explain. The national spotlight will shine upon this tragedy. There will be those who will want to dim the good news of the Bethlehem star. They will say the evil of our world is too much. They will ask, “Tell me, where is your God?”
Tell them our God is with the little children, calming their fears and relieving their pain. Tell them our God is with the grieving and confused mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, brother and sister. God is with those children who have had their innocence stolen. God is with child who asks, “Is my school safe?” God is with the parents who must answer these questions and fear for their children’s safety.
This is what we tell them. Our God is not the God of darkness or evil. It is not God’s will that little children suffer or have the safety of their education threatened by fear. Our God stands against such evil in this world. Our God was born at night for a reason – to bring light to the darkness. The world is broken and messy with our sin, but God will never give up on us. The Bible promises that one day we will see the face of Christ and all that is broken in our lives will be restored. One day heaven and earth will be one as the God of creation intended it to be. One day, all the evil, suffering, strife, division, hatred, and anything else that causes pain to God’s children will be no more.
This morning as I drove to church I listened to some Christmas music. I listened to the songs about angels and peace. In that moment I thought about the 20 unexpected angels that have been added to the choirs in heaven. I thought about the heavenly hosts that have been dispatched throughout the land to sit with parents as they reassure their children, the host sent to protect our schools, churches and homes, and the heavenly messengers sent to bring Good News and Joy to our hearts in this difficult time.
Today and in the days to come hold your children tight. Join me in praying for those in Connecticut. Pray for my sermon. While I’ll be rewriting part of my sermon to speak to this, so much of the sermon I had written seems to speak into this tragedy. Please plan to join us in worship this weekend, and between now and then, please pray for the families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School near Danbury, CT.
Yours In Christ,
Dr. John Allen, Senior Pastor
Trietsch Memorial United Methodist Church
Flower Mound, TX