The Newtown massacre was a tragic event of humongous proportions. It is ironic that it should happen just a few weeks before the joyous celebration of Christmas. But this tragic event is symptomatic of the malaise the world is suffering from, all the anger and hatred, all the pain and sufferings that the anger and hatred cause, all the uncertainties and fears that these engender. In many places, brothers are oppressing and even killing brothers. Fathers are abusing children, specially daughters. Nations are trying to annihilate other nations. And everywhere, there is hunger, misery and disease for which we have the resources to wipe out. Even in the most progressive of peoples and nations, there is political gridlock because leaders cannot decide for want of trust and confidence in other leaders. As a result panic and uncertainty rule the markets and businesses and corporations grab what they can in unmitigated self-interest and greed to the detriment of ordinary people and families.
This is the world today, moaning and groaning for liberation from fear and uncertainty, from the anger and the hatred, from all the greed and selfishness, from all the pride and callousness, from all the uncaring individualism. This is the world today, pining and yearning for love, hope, peace and joy. This is the world today, praying and waiting for a Savior. The cynics among us will tell us: “There is no savior and there is no hope. We ware all doomed, plunging headlong into our own annihilation which for the most part has been self-inflicted.” And if one were to look around at what is happening today, there are many reasons and indications that they might be right.
And the Savior came – only to prove the cynics right. He was born in a stable and had a manger for a bed, because there was no room elsewhere for him. He should have been born in a palace or at least the mansion of some royalty. He would then have a chance of growing to be another, Cyrus the Great or another Alexander the Great or another Caesar. Then, by his sheer will, power and might he would vanquish all the bad guys for good. But he came as a helpless and hapless baby. In attendance were the animals in the stable and the poor shepherds from the nearby fields. And yet, and here is where many of us miss the whole point, this child has brought us the glad tidings of love, hope, joy and peace by coming the way he did. He did not come in power and might to impose his will upon us. But he came only with our consent. It started with Mary’s Fiat and Joseph’s trusting faith. He came not as a conquering hero to impose his will upon us but as a child for us to accept and bring freely into our life. Thus by saying Yes to him, his followers and believers have been lighting candles of hope, love, joy and peace – one candle at a time – to dispel the darkness brought about by anger, hatred, despair, pain and suffering.
It is Christmas time.
“By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:67-79