Monday, December 17, 2012

Finding Joy in Christmas

The recent mass shooting by a mentally deranged man in a primary school in Newtown, Connecticut, USA killing 20 children and 6 adults before committing suicide himself has shocked the community, the nation and the world that such senseless killing on innocent children in a supposedly safe environment can take place in a civilized society. It is totally unexpected and raises the fear that such murderous acts can happen anywhere, as long as dangerous people and lethal weapons co-exist. And happening so close to Christmas in the Advent season which reminds us of the coming Christ, and therefore a reason for celebration and joy, made a mockery of the celebrative mood. Anyone who have a heart and conscience will certainly react in anger and even shame that such crime can exist in the 21st century. This is not a condemnation of Adam Lanza, the killer, but at the human state of mind that made him a dangerous person that he even shot and kill his own mother earlier. Our civilization has not made mankind better but worse.

In a world, and for many, a life, that is a constant struggle against injustice, conflicts, personal crises and a search for perfect happiness, Christmas promises joy to us who understand that joy exceed what sufferings made us a pitiful creation. Even the birds are better off than mankind. The sorrows the families and community of the murdered victims felt cannot be immediately be replaced by the promised joy which lay hidden. Forgiveness and reconciliation will heal the hurt and pain and if called upon this joy that Christmas offers will be there to soothe and strengthen. Losses can never be replaced and memories of good times will always bring on tears and heartaches. But reflecting on how God lost many millions of his people to sin He still made it His purpose to rescue those who seek a returning path and accept His open hands.

Life on earth is not what we want. Heaven constantly bid us welcome as a place where no pain nor disease exist. We long for heaven on earth. It shan't be long for this to happen. It may be in our lifetime or later. But in the meantime God offers us the gift of joyful living. He is looking out for us. He is no Santa but the sovereign almighty God whose desire is peace on earth and goodwill toward all men (and women and children).

I pray that those suffering people in the aftermath of the massacre will find strength to forgive, restore their lives and find peace and joy this Christmas.

Merry Christmas should be changed to Joyful Christmas as a reminder that it shouldn't be a time to wine and dine, but in the year end spirit and reflection, to be grateful and thankful for a reasonable good year, and find in our hearts every reason to be joyful.

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