School Shootings and the Christmas Story

School ShootingsUse words like sin, evil or demonic in our culture and you’ll get a few strange looks. Our culture doesn’t sin, it makes mistakes. And who do you think you are calling anything evil? What right do you have to judge? We are a culture whose three greatest virtues are tolerance, multiculturalism and environmentalism—or to sum up all three: all people and ideas should be treated just the same.

And yet here I am, watching new horrific details coming in about a school shooting in Connecticut. Early reports saying 27 dead including 18 children. There are photos of adults escorting panic-stricken children to safety. Stories of bullets flying and children fleeing. This cannot be sanitized. A culture that found words like sin, evil and demonic to be too judgmental is left without words to make sense of these events.

This morning, my 5 year old son had a “lockdown drill” at his elementary school, preparing for such an event to happen in our own little community. This is evil. How do they explain to the bright-eyed 5-year olds why they have to practice hiding from stray bullets? Are they aware of the evil world they are being raised in? I’m tempted to flee. To protect my young and hide somewhere safer.

Yet, this is the evil world into which God stepped at Christmas. He didn’t flee. God so loved this broken, rebellious, evil and sinful world that he didn’t sent another flood, but instead sent his Son. Jesus himself was nearly the victim of another massacre of children as evil Herod went on a killing spree in Bethlehem.

We love to say that “Jesus is the reason for the season”, but in another sense we can say that “sin is the reason for the season.” Our sin and evil motivated the Father, in love, sending his son, to be born the only non-evil person, untainted by sin, to live a truly righteous and good life, to die as a sacrifice for sin, taking on the penalty of our evil, and being raised to new life, conquering death and evil through resurrection.

When we learn of horrific events like school shootings, we often ask, where is God in all this? How does God respond to our great evil? He sent his son. He didn’t hide from evil, but he came to rescue us from it. We see God’s response to our evil in the birth of Christ, in his death for our sin, in his resurrection, in the promise of new heavens and new earth.

The story of Christmas is the story of a love so powerful and a God so good that he looks into his evil and corrupted world and instead of running away, he steps into the darkness to begin to make it all right again.