The Sorrow Of Sandy Hook, And The Hope Of The Season

21 Dec

US-CRIME-SCHOOL-SHOOTING

My heart goes out to those in Newtown, Connecticut.  Not having children of my own, I cannot imagine the pain and sorrow these families are experiencing at the lost of their beloved children.  And I do not wish to write a blog that minimizes their suffering. I continue to pray for these families; I continue to pray for you during this time of mourning.

I also do not wish to write a blog that focuses on the socio-political implications of this tragedy. I am not going to get atop my soapbox and preach the doctrine of freedom in America, the Second Amendment, or the need for stricter gun control laws.

However, what I do wish to do is write a blog about Christmas.  I want to write a blog that honesty confronts our depravity and desperate need for a savior, and faithfully proclaims the arrival of that savior in the Son of God.

This morning, I watched the podcast edition of Meet the Press from this past Sunday, of which the topic for discussion was Sandy Hook.  The debate raged on about assault weapons, gun control laws, and mental health education. And although there were some good points to be made, it wasn’t any of the talking points that stood out to me.  Instead, it was one of the underlying assumptions that hit me the hardest: Change merely requires the action of our government, mental health professionals, teachers, parents, etc.

Abraham Kuyper put it well when he said:

“Every attempt to explain sin as an incomplete stage on the way to perfection…[is] an insult to the majesty of God…Buckle has demonstrated in his ‘History of Civilization in England,’ that the forms in which sin makes its appearance may show us a gradual refinement, but that the moral condition of the human heart, as such, has remained the same throughout all the centuries. (emphasis mine)”

I am not anti-government, education, or psychology, nor am I a 2nd Amendment zealot.  However, I cannot help but believe–based on experience and Scripture–that change requires not merely the work of man, but the supernatural work of God according to His grace (be it common or special). We are not dealing here with merely a small segment of our society who suffer from chemical imbalances.  We are dealing with a spiritually bent (depraved) race called humanity, of which some individuals perpetrate sins that carry tragic consequences for others.

As the Psalms state:

“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.
They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good, not even one.”
-Psalm 14:1, 3

“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
-Psalm 51:5

It cannot be overstated that we are not the solution to our own fallen condition.  We cannot come up with the right mechanism to eradicate the sin that has touched every aspect of our being.  While we may refine it, the corrupt moral condition of the heart (greed, lust, hatred, etc.) remains the same.  Help must come not from within, but from without.

And this brings us to Christmas.  For at just the right time, God sent His Son–Jesus Christ–into this world, to be born of a virgin.  A Savior came; one who would save His people from their sins.  The redemption that comes through Christ effects true change; change of the heart, mind, body, and will.  It is a change in the condition of all facets of our being.  That is the hope born of this season.  It is a hope delivered to all the depraved like you and me; a hope for the oppressed, the poor, the suffering, the mourning.

Because, while I cannot being to empathize with the parents of the slain in Sandy Hook, there is one who can: God the Father, whose beloved Son was also slain.  That was precisely why His Son came into the world: to die.  Though innocent of all sin–perfectly righteous–this Son suffered unjustly on behalf of all of us and our sin.  He was beaten, flogged, crucified, and died.  You see, the hope born to us in this season finds its joyous fulfillment in a horrible, yet atoning, death, and victorious resurrection from the grave. And at this, our sorrow can turn to joy, and we can say, with the Psalmist:

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!”
-Psalm 30:11-12

Salvation is from the Lord, and it has come this Christmas day.  Praise be to God and to our Lord Jesus Christ!  Merry Christmas.

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