Christmas took on the dark hues of death and despair as reports swept across our land about another senseless evil attack on innocence. This time evil reared its ugly head in the first grade class rooms of the Sandy Hook School in the sleepy little Connecticut village of Newtown.
When the ten-minutes of insanity had ceased teachers and children alike lay motionless on the floor as death made an unwelcomed appearance in the hallways of a school that had been the home of smiles, laughter and happiness just days before Christmas.
In practically every tragedy evil rarely has the final word. As the accounts of the horror spread there were glimmers of light in the midst of the foreboding darkness. Principal Dawn Hocksprung and school counselor Mary Sherlach let their lights shine instinctively when their little ones found themselves in danger.
According to those nearest to the scene, Dawn and Mary came out of a meeting and hear the sounds of gunfire down the hallway. Instead of running for the lives or racing to safety, they ran toward the shooting—they ran straight into the face of evil. There is no way to estimate how many lives their actions saved as they laid down their own lives for the sake of the children.
These two courageous educators captured in a instant of time the very essence of Christmas. When Jesus stepped on the stage of history He too was racing toward the evil. He too could not stand idly by while children found themselves hanging in the balance.
For Dawn and Mary their love for the children led them into the line of fire. For Jesus: His love for us led Him from Christmas morn to Good Friday on the cross.
Jesus captured the essence of Christmas and love when He said:
“Greater love has no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends…”
Like always, Jesus lived out the reality of what He taught. Jesus loved us, and still loves us more than we could ever know and imagine.
Never forget the words of the angel to Joseph.
“And you will give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sin.”
Jesus came to save us from the dark realities of sin that reside deep in the human soul. He came to save us from ourselves. He came to forgive and to set us free from the chains that bind us heart and soul.
I must confess the tragedy in Connecticut will linger on my soul for a while, but I pray I will remember that Christmas never was a fairy tale with a “promise of happily ever after.” Christmas tells the story of a Savior who entered a world filled with darkness and death to save and rescue His creation.
Jesus ran toward the evil, so we could run forgiven and free. He stared down sin and death so we could freely embrace love and live. Christmas shines brightest in the dark.