Heaven's love reaching down to save the world
Son of God, Servant King
You're here with us
You're here with us
I started writing this series of blog posts 2 weeks ago as a way to intentionally focus myself on the real meaning of Christmas during a season that more and more tries to draw me away from it. Each day that I’ve sat at the computer and looked to write a few words and find a song that would touch my heart, God has been good to deliver just the right thoughts to think about that day. And a song that stirred my emotions.
At some point while following the tragic school shooting in Connecticut yesterday, I wondered what I would possibly write about today. The scenes I was watching in no way reflected the joy and celebration I felt in so many of my previous posts. They made it much easier to question the meaning of Christmas than celebrate it.
Yesterday afternoon my kindergartner came home from school. I experienced a blessing too many parents in Connecticut didn’t experience. My child hugged me. Then kissed me. And in both I felt him drawing me a little closer than usual, like he somehow knew I needed it. My thoughts for today’s post began in his small arms and carried me into the late hours of the night.
I realized the most special part about our boys’ love is that they choose to give it to us. As tempting as it would be to wish they could somehow be programmed to offer that kind of love every minute of every day, without thought or consideration or moving of the heart, like robots, I believe it would not feel the same. Not even close. The most wonderful part about being loved by them is knowing they give it freely. And because of that, I wouldn’t have traded yesterday’s hug or the many before it for anything in the world. Not fame or fortune or opportunity. In fact, if I was God, I would create a world and fill it with my children, and I would give each of them the opportunity to show me the kind of love our boys show us.
At least most days.
You see, this big bottle of free-will that we’ve all been given comes with a fluorescent orange warning label, and on it is written: warning, some people use their free-will to massacre classrooms filled with innocent teachers and children. Although we don’t all use our free-will to make equally heinous decisions, I believe it’s fair to say we don’t always use it to make loving decisions. To hand out hugs. Our boys don’t. I don’t.
It is hard for me to understand how this system God has put in place to give and receive pure love can be so often tainted by unimaginable hate. And although I will never fully understand yesterday’s tragedy, why parents have to experience pain from acts that are well beyond my greatest fears, I can recognize the gift of Christmas in it. If I were feeling their pain today, the only imaginable consolation I would find would be in the hope for justice for those who used their free-will to steal away the lives of children, in the promise that I would one day be reunited with my child, and in the grip of the only hand strong enough to lead me along the road turned nightmare ahead. The consolation that comes from a child in a manger.
This Christmas I am grateful that both in the arms of my children and in the darkest hours I might face, He is in my presence. And this Christmas morning, God willing it is shared with my children, I will take time to imagine all of those children lost to this world yesterday gathered around that baby in a manger, experiencing the real Christmas.
May God comfort all experiencing grief as a result of yesterday’s shooting.