Sunday, December 16, 2012

A little bit of light. . .

Its been a hard week.  Its been a hard couple of months.  Its way too easy for evil people to hurt innocent ones, whether their weapons of choice are fists, knives, bats, cars, guns or words.  Too many people will be spending their Christmas--a time that should be filled with joy--with heavy hearts, and every Christmas for the rest of their lives will likely be tied to a cumbersome grief for which there is no easy cure.

A few hours after the shooting in Connecticut, a loved one of mine posted what he believed to be the shooter's Facebook profile picture.  My first thought was, "No.  Forget him.  The fewer people who ever learn his name, the better.  He doesn't even deserve the fame that comes with infamy.  Don't let any other lunatic who is capable of this sort of thing see this boy getting recognition."

We give far too much attention to evil, focusing on it intently and applying the wrong remedies.  We call for laws and regulations and reforms, because when we are hurt and angry about things beyond our control, it is instinctual to reach out and grasp more firmly anything that we feel we can control.  We want to believe we can legislate away evil, because its just too scary and overwhelming to think that maybe, just maybe, there really is nothing we can do.  We will not defeat evil by studying it or banning it.  We can only overcome evil by studying, and more importantly by doing, good.

We can indeed to something, but what we can do to affect real change isn't found in chambers of national government.  Its found in our personal, one-to-one relationships, in the homes and communities that we build.  We can't legislate away evil--as scary and discouraging as that reality is--but we can increase the goodness in our homes and our communities.  We can teach our children that everyone we know and everyone we meet is a child of God, and so ought to be treated with every ounce of kindness, patience and love that we can muster, and then we set the example so that our children know what we mean.  We don't wait to be asked--we pay attention, we notice the little things, and we reach out to the people around us and meet their needs.  When I reflect on my own life, some of the acts of service that meant the most to me, and had tremendous impacts on my life and who I am, were things like a five-minute "How are you doing, I love you" phone call, a sincere compliment that came when it was most needed, and an unexpected thank-you note.  We have no idea how much good we can do until we try.  You will only be a good person in a moment of crises if you don't wait for that moment to be a good person.

But there are still those parents and brothers and sisters and children who have lost loved ones and who, as they are surrounded by decorations and music that declare "joy" and "peace", feel anything but peaceful or joyful.  I pray that the promise of Christmas will penetrate their hearts this year, when they undoubtedly will need it more than ever.  As these parents mourn the loss of their babies, may they remember the grieving mother of Christ, after he was cruelly slain by evil men, weeping at her son's tomb, and, most importantly, may they remember that she did not long mourn for her child--he rose, she saw him again.  Death was conquered forever in the Resurrection of the Christ, and so these grieving parents will see their beloved little ones again, too, and never be separated from them again.  In Christmas, we celebrate the advent of a life that conquered death, of the One who conquers evil through his love and sacrifice.  When they see their children's faces again, it will be a world where evil is bound, and there is no more death, no more pain;  where the Lord wipes the tears from their eyes and there is no more weeping.  I pray that they will feel the love of the Savior surround them and that they will also feel the love, the spirits of their dearly departed, who are not so far away as it may feel at times.

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