This week my neighbor died of a heart attack at age 49. He left three kids and a wife of less than a year. So sad. Yesterday a Virgina Tech police officer was gunned down and the killer then took his own life. Absolutely senseless. Former Gov. Blago (the guy with wacky hair) was sentenced to 14 years in prison for corruption. Ridiculous. Today, hundreds, if not thousands young boys and girls will be sold into slavery within the sex trade, not only in third world countries, but right here in our own country. Deeply disturbing. And oh yea, in just 16 days we celebrate the birth of our Savior, God with us, once again. Merry Christmas.
Sometimes, I feel as if we sometimes treat Christmas like a scene from Groundhog Day with Bill Murray. He, as a weatherman, wakes up each day and relives the very same day over and over again. In similar fashion, we may be guilty of the, "Oh yea, it's time to do that Baby Jesus, Santa Claus thing once more." Just like we've done every other year of our life. People know where the tree goes (same place every year). We know how the lights go up on the house. We can predict what happens at the office party. We go through the rituals of how and where we open presents. And go figure, some of the same family members will do their very best to become drama kings and queens and mess up the whole day for everyone. We also, on cue, drag the family to the Christmas Eve service and have a heart softening hour of carols and a message.
But this Christmas is not going to be the same for those three kids and a wife of my neighbor. Without a doubt the families of the police officer and shooter, now dead, will forever be changed. Blago, though on many levels deserving of what he got, has a family who will be without their husband and father for a long time to come. And those nameless children from all over the world will have their lives torn apart in unspeakable ways.
God With Us? Are you kidding? This year, more than ever, I have been touched by the absolute feelings of disconnect between the coming Christ and the world we live in. Initially, these thoughts trouble me. But as I wrestle with them, I sense God saying, "And that's exactly why I came." God did not become man and come to earth just so we could decorate, open presents, dress up, go to church, and sing carols. Nope. He came so that a hurting, disjointed, often ugly, and even dying world might have Hope. Real Hope in the form of a Savior. And as I ponder this thought, I say to myself, "How dare me treat this like just another Christmas."
Forgive me Lord. Help me in some measure understand who You are and what You are about. Be real to me and to those whose lives have been severely disrupted this year. May we all be blessed and be a blessing this year.