Friday, December 21, 2012
Six days ago, just days before Christmas, a shooter shot twenty children to death at Sandy Hook Elementary School. On one hand, the timing of the slaughter, being days before the celebration of Christmas, could not have been worse. On the other hand, in light of the brutality set off by the birth of Jesus so many years ago, I am encouraged to consider God's victory over evil, just as much as he overcame the rage of Herod in Matthew 2. Satan has sought and continues to seek to instill confusion, fear and sometimes even bloodshed in order to pursue his ancient project of reversing the gift of God's good creation. In Matthew 2, the record of the massacre of the innocents around the original Christmastime--what Adam Lanza did was truly Herodian in that sense--Matthew's only resources for language adequate enough to describe what has happened to all the male children in Bethelehem is the prophet Jeremiah. Likewise, today, in a sense, we are like Matthew. We lack language adequate for what occurred at Newtown, which is why we must remember that the cross looms behind the stable. As the shadow of violence, agony and death, the cross is God's summary judgment of evil: he hates it but has suffered through it with us. The stable in light of the cross reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas, that, though we may not see it today and right now, God will destroy evil in every of its forms and in him, we will overcome.