Tuesday, December 18, 2012


"We consider Christmas as the encounter, the great encounter, the historical encounter, the decisive encounter, between God and mankind. He who has faith knows this truly; let him rejoice." Pope Paul VI

Many different things are meaningful to people at Christmas. Christmas lights, decorations, parties, giving and receiving of gifts, gathering of families, going to church, Christmas feasts, Santa and singing Christmas carols are just a few things that many hold dear. For some, if you leave out their favorite element of Christmas, the holiday just doesn’t seem right.

However, sometimes, things happen around the holidays that make us stop to consider the true reason we celebrate the season. Reconnecting with an old friend, family members returing home after a long absence, relationships mended, the first Christmas for a new baby, all make us pause for a moment and take in the magic in the air.

For some, tragedy strikes during Christmastime. For some, the stark reminder that evil is still in the world is the unfortunate reality that shakes us and forces us to realize that salvation from sin and evil is the reason Jesus was born. Bad news never waits until Christmas is over to rear its head. It comes to us during the holidays, just as easily as it comes to us any other time of year. However, it seems much more invasive and troublesome when it comes during a season that is supposed to be about joy, love, hope and peace.

On Friday, December 14th, many families, a school, a community, and an entire nation watched in horror as events unfolded in Newton CT. Many questions still remain unanswered. The main one is WHY?

I’m a pastor. I’m supposed to have all the answers. I’m supposed to be able to comfort and reassure people in times of tragedy. I’m supposed to be able to explain why things like this happen if God loves us so much.

I cannot. All I can do, is tell you what I do know about God.
1. God is still God.
o He didn’t stop being God when the Israelites were taken into slavery in Egypt.
o He didn’t stop being God when Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed.
o He didn’t stop being God when Herod slaughtered male children of Bethlehem under two-years-old.
o He didn’t stop being God when Jesus was dead for 3 days.
2. God makes good out of bad
o There are always stories that come out of great tragedy, of heroism and goodwill.
o If we look and listen, there is always more good than bad in any situation. Unfortunately, the bad seems to overshadow it, until someone brings it to light.

As for the tragedy in Connecticut, many will try to make it about taking God out of schools, gun control, politics or even reasons why it happened. However, what is truly about , is the evil that is in our world: The evil that Jesus came to battle. As long as we live in an imperfect, sinful, world, there will always be evil deeds, evil thoughts and evil people. However, If you look closely, there are many more good thoughts, good deeds, and good people than there are bad.

Think about the account of Jesus’ birth. There was a lot of bad there. An unwed pregnancy, Birth in a stable, Herod killing the children to try to defeat the Messiah were all heart wrenching events surrounding the birth of Christ. Looking back from our vantage point in time, we see it differently. We see the pregnant Mary as a touching symbol of obedience to God. We cherish our nativity scenes that depict Christ born in the stable. As for Herod, he would be lost in history without the brief mention in the Bible, a mention that many don’t even pay attention to.

That’s where we need to be during Christmas and all through the year. Look for the good. God is there in the tragedy and joy alike if we seek Him first.

May God show you the light and the good in everything around you. Merry Christmas from my family to yours Pastor Stacy

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people (Luke 2:10)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)