The heart of the Great I Am grieves more than any of us. The heart of the One who created those precious lives lost in Connecticut and loved them with an unfathomable love. The heart of the One who holds them tight right now.
Next week, we will try to celebrate Christmas. How can we celebrate anything ever again?
The scene Jesus entered 2,000 years ago was also bleak. He came into an inky black world. His brilliant light shone even brighter against the backdrop of pervasive darkness, piercing it and scattering it. It still can.
Shortly after the angelic choir sang and faraway kings knelt down in worship, weeping replaced the rejoicing. Joseph was warned in a dream to whisk his family away to safety in Egypt, while King Herod massacred all male babies near Bethlehem, two-years-old and under, in an effort to kill Jesus. All of them. Killed.
“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” Matthew 2:15.
Three decades later, weeping revisited earth when the purpose for which Jesus came had been finished. But that mourning was soon forgotten when He rose from the tomb – victorious over Satan, sin, and death. The enemy is a defeated foe and he knows it. He’s sputtering out his final attempts to do what he does – to steal, kill, and destroy. Contrast that with the Light and Life and Love that is Jesus. The enemy doesn’t have the final word. Jesus will return and He will set all things right.
Beauty will rise out of ashes. We’ve seen glimpses already. News of heroic teachers. Pictures of beautiful children whose hugs will never again be felt, whose smiles will only shine in our memories. Stories of parents who have said they forgive. Yes, beauty will rise, but the empty spaces will never be filled. Beauty will come again, but now is the time for all of us to grieve. We are all changed by this horror.
I think of Isaiah’s prophecy about the Messiah, the words Jesus Himself read in the temple when He began His earthly ministry. The words which remind us what we celebrate next week. We need good news now more than ever. We need Hope. Peace. Joy. We need the One these words refer to:
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
Oh Lord. Come quickly. God have mercy on us.