Saturday, December 15, 2012

Amidst the Darkness

This morning, I find myself like most mornings, sitting on the couch surrounded by candle light and the gentle glimmer of the Christmas tree. My computer is on my lap, and I busily write down the story that has crowded my mind for three years.

It is a story like so many others about a society/a world that has entered a period of darkness and the people who are desperately trying to return it to the light. Of course, it is a work of fiction. Which means at the end of the day, as the writer, I hold the power to sculpt the characters' lives. I can redeem them, kill them off or send them to the bad side. Ultimately, I have the ability to change a dark world into one of hope again.

Today, this concept seems to weigh on me differently than it has before. In lieu of yesterday's tragedy, I'm finding I desperately want to rush my characters to the part where they aren't afraid anymore.

Death is heartbreaking. And the cruel death of 20 children and 6 teachers is heartshattering. Words cannot begin to express the sorrow that our country and our world is facing after such a devastating event.

Then again, maybe there are some words that can.
Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 
When asked the question, why do you believe? Sometimes the answer is hard to formulate in one thorough sentence. How can one begin to explain why they believe in God and Jesus Christ? And then in the wake of devastation the question changes to how can you still believe in a God who allows the death of 20 innocent children?

These are hard questions, but the reality is that there is one simple answer. Because where there is dark, there is also light.
John 12:46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

I would never claim to be the best biblically based Christian. I don't possess the ability to quote relevant scripture or to pray fervently. But I believe with my whole heart in a God who is still there even in our darkest days. I believe in a Jesus who was born to shine a light in the darkness. To be a beacon of hope in a world that just can't seem to get it together. We are human. God has given us humanity and free will. He doesn't lead a man to an elementary school with guns in his hands. But He has given us His son to believe in so that when those shots are felt throughout the world, we have a light to turn to. We have some semblance of peace of mind knowing that those children rest in the kingdom of God.

Our sorrow doesn't go away. Our pain isn't lessened. But maybe with faith we can still have hope. 

As a writer and avid reader, I see countless characters get put through the ringer. They are tried and tested, pushed and burdened with every step. Many of them are placed on cold, long roads. And their journey is not easy. It is fraught with loss and pain at every corner. People die. Lives are lost. And even at the last page where hope seems to be found, the reconstruction of a broken society is no simple task.

It is when we come together not just as Christians, but people to labor in the aftermath of disaster that hope isn't just a spoken word but a reality.

So as I write today, I might think twice about callously knocking somebody out of an eleventh story window just because they are part of Team Bad Guy. They also have a family.

I will think about the teacher who hid her kids in the closet to protect their lives and died for it. I will think about what real bravery is. And I will think about those families who aren't just reading the news but are burying their children.

In a season where we sing songs about Joy to the World and I'll be Home For Christmas, for many it will be hard to believe there is any hope this Christmas when the gifts that they have already wrapped and placed under the tree will have nobody to open them.

And even though it is the hardest thing to do, in their hearts--in all of our hearts--we will have to find forgiveness. Because if we can't forgive then we can't heal. Forgiving does not mean forgetting, it just means that we can give ourselves the ability to find the light in the darkness. It means that we can see brokenness in our world but also the hope that it takes to fix it.  

To all of those families who have lost someone today, yesterday, this year...whether in the recent shooting, hurricane or a car prayers are with you. I grieve alongside of everyone. I count my blessings with every breath. And I thank God for giving us Hope in a dark world. And whether you believe in God or not, at least believe that though our world gets put through the ringer every day, where there is darkness there is also light. Where there is pain there is pleasure. Where there is sorrow there is also happiness. Don't let go of the good. Mourn but also rejoice.

Silent night! Holy night!Son of God love's pure lightRadiant beams from thy holy faceWith the dawn of redeeming grace,Jesus, Lord at thy birth,Jesus, Lord at thy birth.

1 comment:

  1. Such a beautifully written post. Couldn't have said it any better. I do really feel for those families, but I also think, that this is a wake up call to all of us, to really embrace our own families by spending christmas with them. By giving them meaningful gifts and singing christmas carols, And just saying things like "Thankyou" and "I love you". We have been given that chance.


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