In our darkest moments shines the light divine. As we consider the back-to-back tragedies of Superstorm Sandy and the Sandy Hook massacre, we must remember this Christmas season that there are hundreds of people who have lost not only their homes and material resources, but also their loved ones.
One of the most poignant losses of this season came as the face of evil descended on the little children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Our emotions have been overwrought and we are left trying to understand what happened.
For me, as a fifth generation minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the first thing I did was to pray for the children, staff, teachers and their families. The second thing I did was recognize that the teachers and children of Sandy Hook weren’t able to pray as a matter of policy — even as their very lives were threatened.
That’s been the case since prayer was banned from public schools back in 1963. I imagined how the students and teachers must have been huddled together, frightened and trembling, and not able to call on the name of Jesus without breaking the rules.
As I considered those little school children huddling and hoping to live, I also couldn’t help but think of the unborn babies trembling in the wombs of their mothers as abortionists take away their chance at life.
At the same time that our children were under attack in Sandy Hook, there were also little kindergarten children being stabbed to death in China. Oh my. This would seem hopeless if we couldn’t have the blessed promise of Jesus, especially in this season.
Please bear with me as I recall that even the joyous birth of Jesus was surrounded by spiritual forces that caused hundreds of little Hebrew baby boys to be slaughtered as the king tried to prevent the birth of a savior.
Similar shifts occurred during the time of the birth of Moses, the Old Testament prophet who told pharaoh that God said: “Let my people go.”
I can’t help wonder what would happen if we would lift up our eyes to the hills where our help comes from these days? I know that we must be sensitive and prayerful, yet we can still have hope, and must not feel guilty for being able to thank God for Jesus by singing a sweet Christmas Carol or two this Christmas day.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t shed tears for those who lost so much. Yet, as we pray in the midst of all of the horrors around us, let us also remember that God is still supreme.
In the words of my dearly departed grandfather, Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr., let us “thank God for what we have left.” Let us be grateful for his love. Let us continue to pray, according to 2 Chronicles 7:14.
We can all take heart that humanity is still filled with stories of love, compassion, and triumph. Maybe we should turn off the gun control debates which will distract us from the real reason for this season.
Instead of focusing on banning guns, why can’t our government officials work to put prayer back in schools? Such an act of compassion would surely be a comfort and could even make the world a better place.
Who can argue that a reasonable firearms policy that protects the mentally challenged, their families and the broader communities wouldn’t be a good idea? We should have come to this conclusion long before the Sandy Hook tragedy.
It is commendable that the cry for help is finally being heard. But there is still a need to bring love and peace back into the media rather than the gratuitous violence and promiscuous sex that floods our airwaves and permeates the living rooms and family rooms of our homes, consuming the minds and souls of our children.
How many boxes and cartons of violent, anti-family DVDs, video games, software, CDs and other similar media are already gift wrapped and ready to burst into the lives of our children on Christmas day?
I can only pray that agape love will prevail over the material, mercenary clouds that threaten to rain on our peace.
And remember: Don’t leave Jesus out of the season, because he’s the reason for the season.
P. S. Join Day Gardner and yours truly to take back Christmas at The Vision. And try some holiday cooking tips from my kitchen.
For unto us a son is given, for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son Jesus!
Dr. Alveda C. King grew up in the civil rights movement led by her uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She is a pastoral associate and director of African-American outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries. Her family home in Birmingham, Ala., was bombed, as was her father’s church office in Louisville, Ky. Alveda herself was jailed during the open housing movement.