NORMAN — This Christmas is different. The horrific events that unfolded in Newtown, Conn., last week has changed the entire psyche of our country. This sacred season is supposed to be about the greatest of joys, the sound of children’s laughter, and the hope of a child shinning brightly. However, as the glow of innocence gave way to a dark veil, the light of Christmas flickered.
Out of the events of Sandy Hook Elementary School we have been forced to assess the darkness surrounding us. None of us likes to imagine we live in a culture that glamorizes violence, regards archaic principles over reasonable guidelines, and pushes our mentally ill back into the tombs of Gadarene (Matthew 8:28). Yet, the reality remains, this is the society in which we live. This is the society which breeds the kinds of violence we witnessed this past Friday.
Staring deep into this darkness, now, our hearts break for the families who have suffered the greatest of losses. They are forced to face a Christmas where uncontrollable tears will flow, hearts will break, and Christmas packages will remain unopened. For now, it seems as though the world has gone dark.
The Gospel of John alludes to this dark existence, but counters with a great light descending from the heavens. This light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it (John 1:5). Even though there are times when darkness seems to be winning, the faintest of glows is still light to live by. John believed this light was none other than Jesus, the baby born in Bethlehem.
As Christmas Day approaches, keep the families in Newtown in your prayers, keep the light of Christ shining in your hearts, and let God’s wisdom guide your paths into a hopeful future where darkness will not win. Light a candle this season, sing “Silent Night, Holy Night,” hold your family close, and never forget there is hope even within the darkest of moments. The Christ child has been born and the world still has a light to guide her. Indeed, make certain this Christmas is different.