The true reason for the season

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Last week's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut forced many to take pause during the buildup to the Christmas season. It was like a sucker punch to the gut, leaving you bent over in pain. Like the rest of the world, I struggled to catch my breath, gasping for a reason, desperately searching for the air of explanation as to why a madman would walk into a school after having killed members of his family, and kill an administrator, teachers and 20 young children.

There was no answer that would suffice. I listened to President Obama that afternoon with tears welling in my eyes then running down my cheeks. There was no need for partisanship in that moment. Like the President, my heart ached for those families impacted. Like the President, I wanted to hug my children in that moment. I questioned myself for being thankful that my children were safe while others collapsed into the arms of friends and family in unspeakable agony at the news that their child would not be opening presents beneath the Christmas tree this year.

And still there are no answers that fill the void. I received a poem this week. I can't verify the author. While I believe they deserve credit for their words, I find it more important to share the words as we ready this week to share this special day with those closest to us.

T'was 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38

when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven's gate

their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air

they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there

they were filled with such joy, they didn't know what to say

they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day

"where are we?" asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse

"this is heaven." declared a small boy

"we're spending Christmas at God's house"

when what to their wondering eyes did appear

but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near

He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same

then He opened His arms and He called them by name

and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring

those children all flew into the arms of their King

and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace

one small girl turned and looked at Jesus' face

and as if He could read all the questions she had

He gently whispered to her, "I'll take care of mom and dad"

then He looked down on earth, the world far below

He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe

then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand

"Let My power and presence re-enter this land!"

"may this country be delivered from the hands of fools"

"I'm taking back my nation. I'm taking back my schools!"

then He and the children stood up without a sound

"come now my children, let me show you around"

excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran

all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can

and I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,

"in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT"

I needed to share this as a reminder of the true reason for the season.

And I believe it also offers an explanation.

We've removed God from our culture. We, as a society, have continued to de-value human life. While we can place blame on violent video games, images on television and the big screen, suggestive and disturbing music lyrics -- all of which I believe can be contributing factors -- I have to point to the lack of a moral fabric in our society, which began when Jesus was removed as the backbone of our country's compass.

My daughter asked my wife, "I understand that it's horrible what happened in Connecticut but what about the millions of babies that we have killed every year because of abortion? Doesn't anyone care about them?"

Had I been asked my answer would have been, "Jesus does. God does. They care about every one of those babies and every life lost at Connecticut. They care about all of us and all we do. But, unfortunately, the Word of God is being stripped from the American conscience so we don't have to feel bad when we act as we do. No guilt. And His absence in our day-to-day lives becomes painfully obvious when we turn to Him on days like this seeking answers."

As we ready to celebrate Christmas this year, minus many special smiles in Connecticut this year, let us be reminded that God and his Son should be on our hearts and minds every day, not just Christmas, Easter and in times of crisis. They are there for us to turn to at all times, good as well as bad.

Merry Christmas to all as we celebrate together the birth of the real King.

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  • Awesome, Randy! :)

    -- Posted by PastorKevin on Sat, Dec 22, 2012, at 12:13 PM
  • Is this a newspaper or a church bulletin?

    As the Mom of a daughter who tried unsuccessfully to have in vitro fertilization 3 times, I can assure you those cells are not babies. They are potential babies, and only God knows when they develop souls.

    Personally, I live my faith, and do not feel the need to preach. I share my faith, but I'm in no position to judge. I'm not sure who has given you this public pulpit, but I find it difficult to read the newspaper and believe it is actually news.

    Randy, perhaps you have missed your calling.

    -- Posted by luvboji on Sat, Dec 22, 2012, at 9:01 PM
  • Why,exactly, did god let these little children die?

    -- Posted by Cookster on Sun, Dec 23, 2012, at 9:18 AM
  • I have heard many cries for God to be allowed to return to our collective daily life together, and I have no objection to that. If we all followed His commands more, there would be more peace and love, less divisiveness and hatred.

    Having said that, I wonder if anyone who arrives on this page at what point in history were the good old days when there was sanctity for human life in the U.S.? There has always been greed, rage and violence here.

    Two-and-a-half centuries of slavery on American soil? Is that when our society more valued human life than it does now?

    What about during the slaughter of the Civil War, where brother killed brother, son killed father, so their side would win?

    Maybe it was post-reconstruction, when Jim Crow laws came about, to keep black men and women where the white power base's fear and ignorance thought they should be? Was it when a black person could be lynched for driving through town? Maybe it was when Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X were each gunned down while pursuing their God-given missions to create respect for the human lives of our dark-skinned brothers and sisters in our country.

    I know! Maybe it was when we systematically destroyed the way of life of the people already here before any of our ancestors knew this country existed - the Native American tribes. Was it during the Trail of Tears? Maybe General Custer would want to shed some light on that topic.

    I've got it. It was during World War II, when our nation came together before God and saw each other through hard times. I wonder how actor Robert Ito, Congresswoman Doris Matsui, and actor George Takei fondly remember that time. The three of them were children then, yanked from their homes, in some cases separated by law from family members, and sent to internment camps between 1942 and 1944. They were just three of over 100,000 people of Japanese descent (along with some Germans and Italians) who were basically abducted from the homes and communities where they were farming, running stores, and raising families, and sent to crudely built military barracks in places like North Dakota which had neither heat nor cooking facilities, but met the minimum for international internment standards.

    I can see God smiling on that now.

    Truth is, there has never been a time this nation has been free from violence, oppression, avarice, selfishness, and people willing to kill or exploit others for their own gain.

    -- Posted by AmyPeterson on Mon, Dec 24, 2012, at 12:19 PM
  • Amy, so very sad, but true.

    -- Posted by luvboji on Mon, Dec 24, 2012, at 9:52 PM
  • Because we cannot know what God is, but only what He is not, we cannot consider how He is, but only how He is not

    "The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep, his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well...'Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have all the weeds come from?'...'An enemy has done this' he answered. 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' 'No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat. Let them grow together until harvest; then I will say to the harvesters, First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.'" Mt 13:24-30

    God has a plan, and whether we are privy to that information or not is entirely up to His revelation.

    We KNOW, as human beings, that life begins at conception because an egg is an egg. Sperm is just sperm. Together they are your grandchild, your son, your daughter-in-law.

    luvboji...Randy is the managing editor of a news paper (public) writing a piece in the OPINION section (pulpit).

    -- Posted by old timing man on Wed, Dec 26, 2012, at 10:09 AM
  • @old timing man - Which is why most newspapers separate their news department (or managing editors) from anyone in their Op-Ed department.

    Also, doesn't logic tell me that if we cannot know what God is, we also cannot be certain what He is not?

    -- Posted by Sony on Wed, Dec 26, 2012, at 1:31 PM
  • -- Posted by deweyh on Wed, Dec 26, 2012, at 5:28 PM
  • If by logic, you mean what you can perceive with your 5 senses only then yes.

    The idea that there can be nothing objectively true, and that we can only know what we experience with our 5 senses is to deny our experience of the unmeasurable, God, the love of parents for their children, and the exultation of music to name a few.

    -- Posted by old timing man on Thu, Dec 27, 2012, at 8:49 AM
  • I may have over-reacted to Randy's column. I fell into the trap of starting a public religious debate when I honestly feel these discussions should occur in the home, among friends, or in church, but NOT in a public newspaper.

    A newspaper is for reporting local/state/national/world happenings and general information for the good of the public at large. IMHO it is not to try to convert the general population to one's religious beliefs. To do so, only alienates those who believe differently, and causes divisiveness within the community.

    IMHO religious issues are appropriate under the BLOG columns, not the OP/ED. And, I'm saying this as a Christian and the daughter of a pastor.

    -- Posted by luvboji on Fri, Dec 28, 2012, at 10:04 PM
  • @old timing man - I mean logic. As in A + B = C. I don't need senses to tell me that if I do not know what something is I also do not know what it is not.

    -- Posted by Sony on Mon, Dec 31, 2012, at 11:21 AM
  • Doesn't A+B=AB

    -- Posted by old timing man on Wed, Jan 2, 2013, at 3:13 PM
  • No, a x b = ab

    -- Posted by DaveMunson on Sun, Jan 6, 2013, at 8:27 AM
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