Christmas & The Newtown, Connecticut Tragedy
Patricia Jones, M.A.
I have been thinking alot about the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut this past Friday when 27 people, six adults and 20 children, mostly 6 and 7 year olds lost their lives just eleven days before Christmas, the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  And perhaps this year of all years, all of us will pause and reflect what Christmas is REALLY supposed to be about and how far we have come from that true meaning.

These precious children and adults are with Jesus now, and will be spending Christmas with him in person, in heaven.  They are in good, holy hands. They are safe, protected, and profoundly loved and at peace.  Instead of getting presents themselves, they are in the presense of God Himself, which is the best gift any of us could ever receive.  They have become reunited with their creator and they are finally HOME.
For those of us left down here on earth, their families, their parents, their friends and the rest of us in the entire world who are mourning their loss it is a different story ... We are the ones who are going to have to cope, and contemplate what life is really all about. Each one of us is putting ourselves in the shoes of those parents and families who had their loved ones violently taken away from them by a cold blooded killer. We are all so thankful that it was not us, or one of our children, or our sister, our brother, mother, our friend, etc.  And yet, it so easily could have been us.

People are discussing the whys, the what ifs, the laws of our land, gun control, mental health, video games, demons, evil, etc. We are trying to put the tragedy into some kind of logical box so that we can better cope with our pain and sorrow.  But when is pain and murder ever logical?

As with any crisis there is always some message in the pain. Always some point that God is attempting to get across to us, some CLEAR understanding of what direction He wants ALL of us to be heading for.  He tells us in the Bible that He will be with us in our pain and sorrows. He even tells us to give our sorrows to Him because HE can carry the load much better than we can.
And many times letting Him carry our burdens is all that we can do. We are not strong enough to carry them by ourselves. As each of these parents are finding out, God is drawing very near and close to each one of them right now. Because on their own they cannot handle the horror of what their children just went through, and the realization that they will never see them again, and the life that they could have lived, is now over and will never be lived. God is saying to each one of these parents...

                                      "Be Still And Know that I am God."

Because the reality is only God can correctly understand what happened in Connecticut.

God Himself know what it feels like to have His own son brutally murdered and who died a very violent death.  He lost Jesus on the Cross. So if anyone can identify with what it feels like to lose a child in a brutal way, it is God.  Now His Child, Jesus, is with God in Paradise. And so it is with these twenty precious children. And so it is with the six heroic adults who lost their lives protecting the children.
I believe that the "message" that God wants us to understand in the Connecticut Tragedy is that we ourselves are helpless in the face of evil and that when we try to live our lives without God, in our schools, in our nation, in our world, then EVIL takes over. This is what happens when a nation puts God at the bottom of it's list of priorities.  While the shooter was definitely mentally ill, he was not that mentally ill believe it or not.  He did have a plan and he did make a concious CHOICE to do what he did. Truely mentally ill people are incapable of planning out diabolical plots. They are many times in their own world and hardly even notice what is going on around them, let alone choose to participate in it. This was not an implusive act, but a deliberate planning to do EVIL and hurt as many people as he could. Obviously God was not in this person's life.  The "other guy" was.
The saying "Evil will prevail if good men do nothing" is one of the truest statements ever made. When you "look the other way" when deliberate evil and moral depravity is taking place, when you "do nothing" when in your heart you know that you "should do something" then you are particiapating in the very evil that is before your eyes.

Our nation, our world, has been "looking the other way" for too long now.  We have been "looking the other way" when they took God out of the schools, out of the nativity scenes, out displays of Christianity everywhere, and now we even "look the other way" when instead of saying "Merry Christmas" it is now more savey to say "Happy Holidays." What are we celebrating in these "Happy Holidays" anyway? Are we really celebrating EVIL and we don't even realize that we are?  Because we certainly are not celebrating the birth of Christ. Many of us don't even believe He is the Son of God, which by the way, if you don't believe that then how can God help you or save you from Evil? When you deny HIS ability to SAVE? He is either your Savior or He is not.  The choice is yours.
Christmas is the time of year when everyone stops their normal routines and becomes either more joyful and contemplative, or more sad, lonely and depressed. It depends on the family you are a part of or the family that you don't have. It also depends on your faith, your belief in God, and your hope for the world.

With the world the way that it is today, in the age of terrorism, and big government take overs, and stimulus packages, and rising unemployment, and the economy in general, many people wonder what there is to be joyful about.

But perhaps that is all the more reason to celebrate Christmas this year, because we are in such a precarious position. In spite of all the doom and gloom out there, there still is one huge ray of hope. And it is comes in the person of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, and the one who is to come back and restore this fallen world to Paradise. So, regardless of what you see happening around you, in the invisible world there is Faith, Hope and Love, for all eternity. Suppose these 26 precisous souls had been murdered and there was no Jesus or heaven to go to?
There are those of you who do not believe in Jesus Christ, and who follow a different God. I am not going to say that you are right, because you are not. There is only one God, and one Savior, and one way to get to Heaven. And it cannot be found in a wooden statue or a plastic Buddha.

God was wise not to allow us to see what he really looks like. And that is because without seeing Him we know that He exists in spiritual form. And that when we die we too will exist is "spiritual form" and these physical bodies of ours will return to the dust and the ground that they came from.

So, when you shop this Christmas, take time to contemplate what Christmas is really all about. True, we give to each other gifts of love and gratitude. Sometimes we give gifts because we have to, and it is the custom. But is it not hypocritical to give a gift to someone you don't really like, but you do anyway because you "got their name" this year?
What is the true meaning behind any Christmas gift? Do you know? Do you care? Are you giving a gift to someone so that they will like you and think more highly of you? Are you giving a gift to someone out of habit?

If we really understand what Jesus was all about, well then the first thing we need to understand is that He is all about TRUTH. And He is LOVE, and HE is LIGHT and LIFE. And Christmas after all is SUPPOSED to be celebrating HIS BIRTHDAY, not ours.

So I ask you. If Jesus was going to be in your house on Christmas morning observing  you opening your presents and your family opening theirs, what would He think? And what present would you give Him?
Christmas is NOT ABOUT "things", or accumulation of expensive items. And if there was a time capsule put in the earth today depicting what our society does at Christmas time, what would the future generation think that it was? Do you think they would think it was about the birth of Christ, the Savior of the World who came to save us from eternal death?

Or, do you think they would think it was about the latest gadget, the most expensive jewelry, or the most shocking DVD and video.  Does our music and movies, and television reflect Christ's birth? Or do they merely reflect our own human image and how glorious we think we are?

Lots to think about right? So, what gift would you give Jesus for His birthday this year if He came to your house? What do you think would make Him the happiest, and give Him the most hope?
Our government is now corrupt. We have taken prayer and God out of the schools. We have a President who openly states that we "are not a Christian nation" although this nation was founded on Christian values and principles. We are NOT MUSLIMS, we DO NOT WORSHIP ALLAH, and we are not terrorists, or communists. WE ARE CHRISTIANS.

In light of all that has happened in the last few years in America, and especially as to what has happened in Newtown, Connecticut this past week, I think that the greatest gift we could give to Jesus, this Christmas, on HIS BIRTHDAY is a promise to bring Him back into our lives, into our government, into our schools, and into our homes and families. And we could tell Him that He is going to be first in our lives and that we consider him our ONLY HOPE and our ONLY CHANGE, and our ONLY FUTURE.

So, when you spend money on Christmas this year, stop and contemplate what your gift really means, why you are giving it, and who you are giving it to. This is the best thing we can do to honor those children and six adults who died in Connecticut.

Patricia Jones, M.A.

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