It's the glorious season again of Christmas. It's a time of rushing, reflection, and reward. It's a time to re-establish your priorities for the coming year. It's a time of miracles, lights, and love.
How ragged is it then in this joyous season that families are torn, crying, broken hearted for their beloved children of promise? Precious little souls cut down in the very eve of their potential. Families that feel as though they will never be whole again? A senseless slaughter of innocence caused by a madman.
To add insult to injury the costs of funerals, burials, etc. etc. are prohibitive. It's around $800.00 for a short eulogy in the newspaper. How critical is it to these parents to feel that they gave their little ones the best in death.
Now I wish to shift to a different tragedy. The forces of nature tore apart the lives of many in the eastern section of our country. Homes are gone, families are splintered, finances are destroyed, and life has become a mere matter of survival from moment to moment.
Do I believe that GOD or Creator or whatever you choose to call the Power of Creation of this planet earth caused so much pain and suffering. NO....once again emphatically NO! What I DO believe is that this earth is a trying ground, a place of proving, and testing. That means that human agency is in play. So that means that someone disturbed and wounded can cause the senseless slaughter of precious little ones. That means that sometimes we may be flooded, or in an earthquake, or tsunami. The worst part is AFTER the initial blow of tragedy.
When our precious son died inside me. My Father-in Law gave me timeless advice. He said, "Pray more than you've ever prayed before!" It is a natural thing to blame God for the tragedy. After all human nature DEMANDS that someone be at fault! Especially in the face of natural disaster it would seem fitting to blame God.
Resist that temptation. Instead turn to God...He will bring peace when your strength is not sufficient. I watched a movie one day where one cancer patient asked another, "Do you ever get angry at God for this disease?" The other woman was silent for a moment carefully choosing her words. Finally she said, "I can't afford to be angry at God. I NEED HIM TOO MUCH!" It is a choice for all of us. Do we let tragedy make us BETTER or BITTER?
Now for a happier story. Twice this month total strangers have reached out to me in love when I had a physical need. I did NOT request the assistance yet it was freely given....again BY TOTAL STRANGERS TO ME.
This simple acts of human decency happen every single day in our great country. Rather than wallowing in the all too human sorrow of tragedy, let us reach out to each other and find ways to help and support.
I love the song, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." "For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth good will to men." That is one of the lines. The writer of the hymn had lost a precious son in a war. The next verse tells some more of the story, "Then pealed the bells more loud and deep, GOD IS NOT DEAD OR DOTH HE SLEEP....the wrong shall fail, the right prevail with peace on earth good will to men."
I'm praying for all those struggling this Christmas. I'm praying that they may find that precious "Peace that surpasseth understanding." I'm praying that hands will be raised up to feed the hungry, and succor the sorrowing.