A Dark Night
If you’re like me, you haven’t been able to get the town of Newtown and especially the children’s family members off your mind since you heard about the shooting. This tragedy has struck me in a new way now that my heart has enlarged with the gift of a daughter and has caused me to think about our world and my faith in a deeper way. (Well, as deep as I can for being sleep deprived and busy with a newborn!)
Of all the articles and insights posted on the internet since the event, a prayer written by Max Lucado has stood out in my mind the most. I so appreciated how he connected the dark events of the shooting to the dark night when Jesus was born. Though we often associate Christmas with joyous memories, the first Christmas actually was filled with much heartache. Herod, an evil king, was jealous of the attention Jesus was receiving, and so commanded the death of all boys under the age of two. (For more of the context, read Matthew 2:13-18.) Our pastor spoke on this subject yesterday and mentioned that theologians believe there were about 20 boys killed at the order of Herod, the same number of children killed in the shooting on Friday. Our world was dark 2,000 years ago when Jesus was born and has shown evidence of its continued darkness this past Friday. Yet, this is the exact reason why Jesus needed to come to the earth at Christmastime to bring everlasting love and light to our world.
I started to write this blog post while Olivia was sleeping but she has since woken up and the ability to put thoughts into words has become much more difficult! So I conclude this post with the inspiring prayer posted on Max Lucado’s blog:
It’s a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately.
These killings, Lord. These children, Lord. Innocence violated. Raw evil demonstrated.
The whole world seems on edge. Trigger-happy. Ticked off. We hear threats of chemical weapons and nuclear bombs. Are we one button-push away from annihilation?
Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas. But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod’s jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty. Dark with violence.
Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene.
Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won’t you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.
This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.