25 Songs of Christmas: Day 14 – Coventry Carol
Today is the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook school massacre. Not a very Christmasy topic, I know, but it’s one that has stayed with me. I’ve been dreading this day on the calendar, even as I have anticipated so many other things about this time of year. It seems so discordant to be celebrating and mourning at the same time. How can there be any true happiness in a world filled with so much pain. But then again, maybe it’s only when we acknowledge how truly awful this world can be that we fully understand the magnitude of the Christmas story.
We like to think of the first Christmas as being very clean and happy and sweet. The problem is that it’s just not. The world isn’t clean and simple right now, and it wasn’t clean and simple then, either. Life can be lonely and terrifying and violent. There’s so much heartbreak out there, and for some reason those heartbreaks seem even worse this time a year as I think about people who are hungry or sick or isolated, or worst of all, wracked with grief. The thing is, without those things, we wouldn’t have needed Christmas in the first place.
Perhaps the most impressive part about the Christmas story is that Jesus willingly came into a horrible world. He was born into abject poverty and homelessness to an unwed mother in an occupied country with a dictatorial leader. And in the horror of all horrors, immediately following His birth, that leader set about slaughtering children. I cannot think of a more wretched start to a life. Which only tells me there is nothing here and now that He can’t understand. No matter how awful things get or how hopeless we feel, Jesus has seen it, experienced it, and loved through it.
Through the story of Christmas, we are reminded not only of how good life can be, we are even more importantly reminded that even when life is at its absolute worst, we are not alone. Each and every one of us can rejoice in that knowledge that there is nothing the love of Christ cannot endure.
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