Thursday, December 20, 2012

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen....

...Let nothing you dismay;
Remember Christ our Savior
was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray!
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy,
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy!

Joy. That is the word that can be seen every which place during the holiday season. It's everywhere, on posters, ornaments, wrapping paper, we even sing of this thing called joy.

And why? I cannot help but think that this is often the question that enters the minds of believers and non-believers alike. For you look around this world and is indeed feelings of everything but this thing called joy.

Each day there are murders, and tragedies like what happened in Connecticut, in all four corners of this earth.

Looking to the east, one finds war and violence, and starving peoples. Look to the west, and one sees yet more violence fueled by struggles with a failing political system and mindset. To the north, one sees politicians, jumping at the chance to try to take away yet more of our freedoms. And to the south, one sees, again, more violence prompted by drugs and the cartels that are trafficking and smuggling them. Indeed, looking over the entirety of the earth, of joy you will find but little. 

And again, why?  Why is there such unrest? Why is there no peace to be seen? Where are the angels singing, "Peace on earth, goodwill to men?" Why is there no peace and, to some it may seem, no goodwill of God to men? The answer lies in the end of the verse to the carol quoted at the beginning of this post, the very reason Christ came:

"To save us all from Satan's power,
When we were gone astray."

And so, my dear friends, in the midst of this unrest, this perpetual cacophony that this world seems to be in, have peace in remembering that this world is not for us. We are not here to stay. And for the time that we are here, let us remember the lyrics to a song from Handel's Messiah that is often sung at this time of year:

"Hallelujah! For the Lord God omnipotent reigns,
King of kings, and Lord of lords,
And He shall reign,
And He shall reign forever and ever."

"'Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,' says the LORD, who has compassion on you." Isaiah 54:10

And so, through all, this is how we may yet have joy, and a truer joy than any human could imagine, this Christmastide and for all time.

For tis at Christmas that Joy came down to earth.

"Oh, now sing praises to the Lord,
All you within this place!
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace!
For this so Holy tide of Christmas,
All other doth deface, 
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy,
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy!"

God bless and rest you, my dear friends and readers.

Your Writer,


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Moment of Silence

A moment of silence. Thought, tears, weeping. This is how we acknowledge and remember the losses that we have suffered. Countless tragedies, attacks, and deaths have been honored in this way, as we take a moment to reflect and perhaps to piece things together in our minds as such that we can relate to what these people have gone through. We take a moment to be still and take a voice that is, in a way, like unto the one that those who have been lost now take ownership of: that of silence.

But, as I think of those families who lost precious little ones, I know that while they, and many others, may be silent on the outside, their hearts are screaming. Screaming, weeping, shrieking, "Why? Why?" In pictures that you see, some parents and surviving children are merely crying quietly, others weeping openly, but the emotion of all of them is the same: that of anguish. Emotions are raw, whether internalized or not.

The searing pain, the empty desks that are going to be there come the end of Christmas break. The presents under the tree that are never going to be opened, the little empty beds, the toys that will never be played with again.
The loss is the same to any parent that losses a child, whether through an illness or a tragedy like what occurred on Friday. The pain is equal, the hearts just as broken, but the shock, while perhaps the same as with an illness such as cancer, may not seem quite so with a tragedy; There are no good-byes.

I know that this blog is where I'm supposed to voice my opinion and speak my thoughts, but Proverbs 10:19 says that "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise." (A verse that brings to mind many situations in which that advice would have proven helpful.) Thus the only thing further that I will post on this matter is a prayer.

My heart goes out to the families of the children and of the gunman. May God comfort you in your grief. I know that your loss is a void that can never be filled, but know that we are grieving with you and always will be. Your precious children will be forever in our hearts, and, I know that I can speak for the entirety of this nation, that we shall always be there for you. May God use you and us and use this, somehow, to bring glory and honor to His Name.

Please pray this prayer. It is dedicated to all who were lost on Friday.

"Dear Father,
'Why?' That is the question that everyone has been asking.
Lord, you know what these families are going throw, losing precious little children, because, Lord, You Yourself lost a child, Your Only Son.
You know what it was like for those children, their fear, their pain, because you, too, died a violent death.
You know what it is like for the family of the gunman, because You, too, know what it is like to have some one who was once close to you turn into someone you could hardly recognize, like King Saul. You know what it is like to have someone that you loved, and you thought loved you, take their life, but not before doing horrors.
You know what it is like for those of us who are essentially bystanders witnessing this horror, because You were there when Herod committed his massacre.
Lord, I pray for the families of these little ones, as well as the teachers, that were lost. I pray that You would bring them comfort in their grief, yet let them know that it is okay to grieve.
Lord, work in the hearts of those parents, because both You and I know that in each of those hearts there is a Jack, or a Grace, or a Madeline, or Emilie sized hole that can never be filled. Lord, I pray that You would somehow bring them peace, God.
I pray that those that don't know You and have been impacted by this horrible tragedy would come to know You through it. I pray for the salvation of each of the little boys and girls, and women, who died on Friday knew You, Father. I pray that I would meet each and every one of them at Your Throne, that I might hold those little hands and look in those little eyes and see them filled with pure joy, just as their parents had the blessing of seeing everyday of their children's lives.
Lord, I pray over those empty desks and empty beds, and those presents under the Christmas tree, that Lord you would use those empty spaces, some how, some way, to help those of us who did not lose children to be more thankful for the spaces in our lives that are not empty, and Lord, that those who lost children, would know that those empty spaces in their home are only there, because their little one is at home with their Heavenly Father. I pray that each and every family would have reassurance of this.
Father, I pray for the family if the gunman, that they, too would be comforted in their grief and confusion, and just plain shock at what their own flesh and blood did. Father, be with them. Work in their hearts, that they may some how see You through this.
And lastly, Father, I pray that you would help those of us who are bystanders, that, though we may never understand what these families are going through, that we would be able to grieve with them, and show them Your Love this week, Lord, even if only by crying with them and praying for them.
I just noticed that the main term that I have used in this prayer is "Some how." That, indeed, is my prayer. Use this, Lord.
Some how.

It's in Your Name I pray,


Your friend,