This past week we saw an unspeakable act of violence and my heart continues to break for all those affected, too many to count. But as I was praying for the families I was reminded of a similarly horrific event mentioned in Scripture. Herod, realizing that he had been outwitted by the magi, became furious and sent soldiers to¬†Bethlehem and the surrounding vicinity to kill all the boys 2 and under. Another act of unspeakable cruelty and the Bible doesn’t attempt to downplay it. Matthew goes on to mention weeping, great mourning, and a refusal to be comforted. Things haven’t changed all that much have they.

At this time of celebration we have been brutally reminded that we are surrounded by a very dark world and too many people that desperately need a Savior and a hope. Many of the Christmas carols we love to sing speak of this theme but we’ve gotten so use to the words I’m not sure we hear them anymore.

For instance “Long lay the world in sin and error pining till He appeared and the soul felt it’s worth. A thrill of hope! The Weary world rejoices for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!”

Or this line “No more let sin or sorrow grow or thorns infest the ground. He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.”

Or what about “O come Thou Rod of Jesse, free thine own from satan’s tyranny. From depths of hell Thy people save and give them victory o’er the grave.”

Terrible things happen. People are hurt, hearts are broken by unspeakable horror, and children are murdered. But it is in these moments when we need to celebrate the birth of Jesus the most. This is when we need to remind ourselves and others- He came to set the captives free. He came to make all things new. He came to conquer sin, fear, and death forever. He came to make things right. And He is coming back.

The story does not end here with sin and darkness winning. Praise His Name. He came once and He is coming again.

May we use these dark days to shine the light of Jesus wherever we go. May we remind ourselves, our friends, our families, and even our enemies that in the middle of this world fill with dark deeds and pain- there is a Light, there is a Savior, there is a hope bc Jesus came once and is coming again.