How many of you dropped your child off at school today, said “I love you,” and thought for a moment, ‘that could be the last time I ever see her?’ I did. How many of you held someone, anyone, just a little tighter this weekend? I did. How many of you cleaned sloppy gross hair from your shower drain this weekend and, for the first time, were grateful you could because of the child who left it? I did. Yes, really.
Like a lot of people, this is not the blog post I had planned for today. And I hesitated to write anything at all about Connecticut because so many have done so already and written better.
The usual sides have been taken and lines have been drawn. Some good conversation is being had; some bad won’t go away. But what if, amid good and bad conversation, the most important conversation never happens?
We’ve read so much already. Taking sides is easy. Blaming ‘the system’ is easy. Coming up with plausible reasons and solutions is easy. And some of those things are partially correct and needful. But nothing should be easy about this conversation. Nothing.
We all know what will happen here. People will feel terrible. For a while. People will cry for solutions. For a while. People will shake their heads and wonder what’s next, and we now know we will inevitably find out, because this is becoming not uncommon. So it anesthetizes us all too quickly, making our tears and resolutions to be more appreciative and “do something” dissolve into “real life” before the New Year rings in.
The most important conversation? It’s the one with the person in the mirror. The one where we stop distancing ourselves from evil and look it in the eye. Where we quit trying to blame everyone and anyone and look into our own souls. Where we admit the world is terribly broken, not just slightly sprained, and ask ourselves why we spend our lives running in fear and denial of that fact. And what effect that collective running is having on our culture.
Today. And tomorrow. And every day we need to remember and not go back to business as usual. Look in the mirror and ask yourself, “How long have I known the world was broken, and what have I done to fix it?” Not fix as in lobby the government for more programs or proffer opinions on Facebook. Not fix as in bury into my own safe little world so at least my family can survive intact. But what have I personally done to push back the iron force of evil in at least one person’s life? If only starting with my own.
Easy answers? If the answer was easy, the Son of God would not have had to be born on this earth with the intention of dying. “Easy” doesn’t end up in a virgin’s uterus and a trough with wood that stinks of manure. “Easy” doesn’t end up on a cross that reeks of blood. There’s nothing easy about innocence giving its life for evil. It’s complicated and messy. It happened two thousand years ago voluntarily. It happened three days ago horrifically.
To borrow from last week’s sermon, “Christmas is not a reminder that the world is really quite a nice place. It reminds us that the world is a shockingly bad old place. . . Christmas is God lighting a candle; and you don’t light a candle in a room that’s already full of sunlight.” – NT Wright
Christmas isn’t really for children. It’s not for the meek and mild at all. It’s for hardy souls who are willing to admit that the world needed a healer and mender. It’s for those courageous enough to take that redemption into our lives and the lives of people we contact. In ways that matter. And not just today.