25 Songs of Christmas – Day 14 – O Come Emmanuel
I don’t really feel like listening to Christmas music right now. I don’t want to celebrate anything at all. Twenty-seven people, most of them children, won’t come home tonight. They won’t celebrate Christmas ever again. There are no words for the sadness I feel about the events that took place in Connecticut today. Shock, disbelief, devastation, yes, but words, no. I pray for the families of the dead, and for the lives of survivors that will never be the same, but at times like this even prayers feel cold and empty. How could a loving God let this happen? I know all the theological answers. I understand free will. I even know God’s own answer to Job on this very subject. Maybe someday that will help me put things like this into perspective, but not today. Today there is only space for unimaginable grief and pain.
That isn’t to say my faith is useless in times of trial. No, it gives me no reasons, and it certainly doesn’t offer an easy road, but it reminds me that I’m not alone. It reminds me that my God knows this pain, that He doesn’t look away from our torment, but he offered his own child for our ultimate peace. We often like to white-wash the events of the Nativity, making it out to be such a sweet clean story, but that’s not reality. Jesus was born under one of the most oppressive, violent regimes in history, and his own birth sparked a bloodshed we can’t even imagine. It’s called the Slaughter of the Innocents. King Herod order the killing every Jewish boy under the age of two. The blood of David’s children filled the streets. Later ,Jesus, the most innocent life ever lived, would suffer His own death at the hands of people He loved more than His own life. His story is one of love and grace, but it is also one a pain and violence.
No, this pain is not new. Believers have cried out for thousands of years on behalf of their children. The God we celebrate at Christmas has not saved us from this violence, and I believe it’s okay for us to question, to fear, and to be angry about that, but let us never forget that if nothing else ,Christmas shows us He knows our pain. He shares it. He mourns with us. We are not alone in our grief.