Summary: What message can Christmas have for those who are going through their own private hell... like those in Newtown, Conn?
Christmas in Newtown
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way
In the early hours of Friday morning, Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother.
I’m Dreaming of a white Christmas…
During the first period classes at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a gunman enters the school and has a heated exchange with the principal before going on a shooting spree from class to class.
Silent night, holy night, all is calm…
He kills 18 students, most in his mother’s kindergarten class. Finally, he turned the gun on himself.
Christmas is a time of happiness, a time of giving gifts, of lights and favorite songs, of being with family
But not for the people in Newtown, Connecticut.
I had my sermon all ready, with pretty pictures to go along with it. Then I turned on the TV and saw a community, and especially 26 families going through hell.
Their child was dead!! This was hell. Nothing in their life would ever be this bad. There was nothing that could fix this. The child was dead… gone… and it did not matter why. This was HELL.
I want us to stop right now and pray for those families.
I realized as I thought about my sermon, the one I had prepared, that it was pretty trite in light of Newtown. Would I preach that sermon to the people who live there… who are still trying to come to grips with that horrific event?
NO! I would be ashamed. Not that every word was not true. Not that I don’t believe every word.
But I realize that Christmas is going to fall right in the middle of their worst time ever.
So what does Christmas have to say to them?
Ho Ho Ho and Jingle Bells… Santa Clause is Coming to Town and Deck the Halls
Those have nothing to say… no help… no answers
How can a jolly elf with eight tiny reindeer help them when they are standing at the graveside of their only child?
For that matter, what meaning does Christmas have for anyone who is going through a bad time… through loneliness, through grief… through a divorce… through cancer?
As I thought about those poor families going through the horrible time, I thought how much it is like that night 2000 years ago… for the thousands of people who crowded into Bethlehem that night.
To them it was burdensome, a time of suffering and problems.
To the locals there was the burden of the crowded streets, noise, lack of food, rudeness, etc.
To the travelers there were too few rooms, not enough food, noise, rudeness, etc.
For them… Christmas came at a terrible time.
They went through the most significant and important night of all history and didn't even know it.
In fact, the night was an intruder into their lives.
They were there, within a stone’s throw, they had the opportunity to be part and they missed it.
The next day, they fought the crowds, endured the process of registering and paying their tax, and left town, glad to shake the dust from their feet.
They went back to their homes and never even heard about the baby, the Messiah, the Savior.
For the parents of Newtown, their “Silent Night” will be an empty room, a bed that never needs to be made, and little nic-nacs that have been robbed of their joy.
The tree and the presents will be painful reminders.
The holiday will be a hollow day.
The same is true for many people who live far from Newtown and whole lives are not in shambles
Even those who are jolly and festive
When Christmas is over, the tree will be discarded, decorations packed up, and wrapping paper thrown in the trash…
They will return to their EMPTY, MEANINGLESS RUTS
They had the chance to see the vision, an opportunity to see the angels, a time to present their gifts to the king...
BUT THEY MISSED IT
Christmas should not be that way for the lost and certainly not for the Christians.
We have MORE than Santa Claus, presents, and lights.
The question I want to ask and answer is… What is the meaning of Christmas… is that meaning big enough for Mother’s in Newtown?
I think it is, and I think it is a message they need
(((First another message)))
Many will be quick to charge, “Where was God?” Well, we kicked God out of our schools. We legislated prayer and the Bible off our campuses. We threw out the Christmas play and the 10 Commandments. We even did away with the names Christmas and Easter. We now have winter break and spring break. We said we don’t want God taught or even mentioned in our schools. School was not the only place either… we have kicked God out of every part of society… government and entertainment. And what is the result? More than 30,000 murders per year, guns have taken the place of God at school, families are in disarray, drug traffic is on the rise, hundreds of millions of dollars spent to house criminals… to name a few.