It’s Christmas Eve morning.
I’m in my office praying for people I know… and people I don’t know.
We are having the most humble Christmas of our lives this year. Not centered on gifts, but centered on the love we have for each other.
We are rich with the things that money can’t buy. I hope you are too.
I think about all of the people in Newtown, Connecticut who are laying in fetal position on their beds, with the blinds drawn tight… weeping on their pillows over the loss of their dear little ones.
It makes me cry too.
I Can’t Imagine
I can’t imagine something like this happening to my family, especially during a time when the rest of the world is so cheerful.
I can’t imagine being in the worst pain of my life, suffering too much for any words to describe… and seeing all of the flashing lights, and the colorful gift wrappings, and merry people laughing and smiling and singing…
More than likely, these families already had the gifts purchased, and wrapped. They already envisioned the surprise and excitement that would be in their little angels eyes on Christmas morning.
Maybe they’re sitting under the tree right now as I write this note… reminiscing of years gone by. “Mommy, this is what I always wanted! I’m so happy right now!”
Today and tomorrow, there will be none of that. Only silence in those broken homes.
It would have to feel like an outer body experience, as if, for a moment in time, my spirit was trapped in a refrigerator.
I would make the loudest sounds when I cried. I would walk around my house, and then I would lay back down, and I would do this again and again like a person who suffers from the severest kidney stones. No relief.
I know I am just one guy, living a few hundred miles away from these people.
Yet, I feel like I must represent millions of others from around this nation. We feel the pain as if it were our own children who died that day. Am I right?
I Wish I Could
I wish I could knock on the doors where these people live… and hold them in my arms, and collect their tears on my shoulder.
I wish I could listen to them wail out in agony for as long as they needed… and when the time was just right, I would whisper something like, “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry… I’m so sorry.”
Then I would pray for them, while in my mind there would be a war of thoughts. I would wonder if my prayers would even help. But then I would pull from the depths of my faith, and I would know that God can bring hope to the hopeless.
Christmas Is Love, Christmas is Hope
To me, this is what Christmas is really about. Not shopping, or lights, or gifts with wrappings. Believe me, I love all of these things about Christmas just like anyone else.
But, when something like this happens right before Christmas, we have a chance to see the truer beauty of this season.
God didn’t do this terrible thing… or any of the other terrible things that happened to us this year.
What happened in Newtown was not a judgement for anyones sins.
We live in a fallen world. There are people all around us who are sick. Some are physically sick. Others are mentally sick. Many are abused, betrayed, and neglected. This sickness spreads from one person to another. Hurt people hurt others. Abused people abuse.
There is so much pain and suffering in the earth today.
This is why Jesus came. I know it doesn’t make sense when misguided people have done so much to make it sound silly. But what Jesus did is not silly at all.
Christmas is a love story.
Mankind is lost, we are inclined towards evil. Can’t we see this? No matter what we do to stop doing bad things to each other, we will never be able to truly change without God’s help.
It makes sense to me, that God would have to suffer the penalty of our sinfulness, that He would die in our place… that we might be able to put our faith in His sacrificial death… that He could actually change us on the inside by GRACE, through FAITH.
This is what we Christians refer to as the GIFT of salvation.
People need the Lord. I believe this is the great hope of mankind.
A Christmas Prayer For America
Dear God, on this Christmas Eve I ask for your loving kindness. Please go to the people of Newtown and hold them close. As you listen to their prayers and you collect their tears… please give them a peace that passes understanding.
Somehow, just like you always do for me in the darkest times of my life, give them hope for the future.
God, you have a way of bringing goodness out of tragedy. I’ve seen it happen so many times. You are the LIGHT of the world. Please shine through your churches, make a real difference through your people. We are the children of light!
Turn the heart of our nation back to you. In this day, when there is so much confusion over religion, begin now to set yourself apart… may your brightness shine brightly in the darkness again. Save us from what we have become. Heal our deep inner wounds. Give us a great awakening, and real hope for a better tomorrow.
Bless my family and friends with the merriest Christmas of their lives. Let love shine in their homes much brighter than the Christmas tree.
May every family in America and around the world breathe in the atmosphere of heaven throughout the rest of this holy holiday.
May we hug our children tighter than ever before. Heal our broken marriages. Restore our broken relationships. Give us true happiness and hope for the future.
This is my prayer, in Jesus name.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. May you have a focus on the things that really matter. May you be filled with God’s love.
Note: I wrote this message much faster than I wonted to… please forgive any errors.