It was a morning not unlike any other. The chill of the morning air was giving way to a sun-filled sky. People filled the town, tending to their chores and errands when the peace of the day was suddenly destroyed. A cry rang out, a clamor arose, and when the peace had finally been restored, only then did the horrors of the day lay visible to the world. The children of the town were dead; the victims of a cruel attack which defied all comprehension. Imagine the fear that was felt by parents doing everything possible to get to their children, praying they are alive and well but in the back of their minds fearing the worst. Imagine the pain of holding the lifeless body of your dearly loved child. Shock and disbelief were soon replaced with tears and anger. How could such a horrible thing happen? Who would dare attack the children of a community, stealing from them their joy, their innocence, and their futures? As time goes on and more information is made known about the who and the how, there is one question that will remain unanswered…. Why? We know this to be true because unfortunately, this has happened before.
I think it would be safe to say that the mothers of Bethlehem know what the mothers of Newtown, Connecticut are feeling this morning. As the reality of the loss settles into our minds, as parents wake from a sleepless nights only to peer into empty bedrooms, we only now begin to the see true depth of the sorrow that’s been brought upon us. Rachel’s weeping will not stop, and there is nothing we can do to replace the great loss our nations have endured. That this happened in the Christmas season adds injury to the insult. How many presents are wrapped and under the tree, waiting for children who will never get to play with them? So while it may be true to say that Santa Claus will not be coming to Newtown this year, we must cling to the certain knowledge that the baby in manger will.
Our world is filled with sin, and the barbaric acts of sinful men will impact us every day. But greater than the pain we find on earth is the hope we find in Christ. The baby born in Bethlehem’s barn – the catalyst that drove a madman to kill Bethlehem’s children lived, died, and rose from the grave to bring hope and salvation to all people, especially the children of Newtown. No sense can or will ever be made of it. But in both circumstances, we are led to focus our hearts and minds on the one and only place we will ever find comfort. In Matthew 5:4, Jesus directs us to grieve as He says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” By coming to God with our pain, by sharing with Him our hurt and confusion, we can receive the aid and comfort we need. The pain and anguish of those who survived this attack will last a lifetime, leaving a permanent mark upon the lives of every person whose life was touched by this tragedy. May God give them an extra measure of His comfort and peace, and the sure knowledge that these young saints awoke this morning in the outstretched arms of our great and loving God.