I had all intentions of writing a jingle bells, Santa Claus is coming, deck the halls, Merry Christmas kind of blog before Christmas arrived, but circumstances have me being led by the Spirit to write about something else. For some, it sound repetitive of some of the other blogs I've written, but obviously, I need to say it again. Firstly, I have to clarify something. I registered to write this blog as a "Religious" blog; offering inspiration and hoping to encourage someone. After some of my postings I have received some negative comments that suggest this kind of writing does not belong on the Patch or anywhere else. While I appreciate everyone who reads my blog, I will tell you now that I am a Christian and my writings will reflect that; I hope you will continue to read but if you don't want to hear about God or the positive ways we can selflessly serve others, then I respectfully ask that you skip over my blog. I hope you will continue to read, because you never know when I might say something you like! For everyone else who follows me, keep on reading.
As, I am sure most of the rest of the world is, I am heartbroken over the tragic shooting in Connecticut today. The lives of innocent children and adults taken for no reason is completely unexplainable. I tried to make sense of it and I even questioned God as to why this had to happen, but I was at a loss. Listening to the children who were interviewed about what they witnessed, reminded me of a conversation my husband and I had with our two grandchildren just Wednesday evening. My granddaughter, who is 9 years old, told us she has been scared. "Of what?" we asked and she preceded to tell us that kids at school had been talking about the end of the world coming on December 21st. We explained to her that the only one who truly knows when the world will end is God and at that point our grandson who is 6, chimed in. "And Jesus is always with us so you don't have to be scared, and God is Jesus' son." A little mixed up but his point was right on.
I didn't think about that exchange again until today and my heart broke even more. What kind of world are we living in, when the youngest of children have to be afraid of life. Think about it; these children who were witnesses to the savage rampage that occurred at their school today will never go to school again without some kind of fear of that happening again. Most likely any child that hears this news will also be afraid. Gone are the days when the biggest fear of going to school was not being ready to take a test or not being asked to be on the team; now children will be suspicious of everyone and will jump at every noise. Parents will question the security of their child's school and for those who were personally involved, they will struggle with the very idea of letting them out of their sight.
Evil events such as today's, will forever change the way children and adults view the world; at least for a little while. As with any tragic event, 9/11, Columbine, Virginia Tech, and the Oregon mall shooting for example, the collective country and its leaders, boldly proclaim that we PRAY for all those involved and for our country. Prayer vigils are held around the country and families will hold on to and love each other a little stronger, for a little while. Then as quickly as horror struck our lives, we will go back to the way things were. Of course, we never totally forget such events, but inevitably we revert back to the old way of life. Instead of praying for our country and its leaders, we go back to bashing the leadership and their decisions; instead of hugging our children tightly, we become short with them when we are rushed; instead of praying for God's intervention in society, we just accept that evil exists.
We are given an opportunity to turn every tragedy into a victory. We can take moments like these to explain to our children that unfortunately bad things happen to good people but that God is supreme and if we center him in our lives he is our protector both here on earth and in heaven. Perhaps we can use moments like these to remind us of our responsibility to raise our children to respect life; teaching them that no life, no matter how small, is insignificant. Moments like these can be used to remind us to treat each other with love and respect, regardless of race or class, age or gender and we can fight to bring God back to a society that has turned to self-reliance and feel good tactics, turning its back on morality, self-control and self-respect.
I know many of you are probably thinking that I am living in this snow globe wonderland but I am a realist. I know that change doesn't happen over night. Our society didn't warp from the "Leave it to Beaver" days to "CSI" overnight. It has been years of moral erosion, selfishness, and quite frankly a lack of empathy for our neighbors. No doubt, a change for the better is going to take years, but it must start sometime and that time might as well be now; each person, myself included, doing self reflection of how we live our lives, how we treat others, raise our children and yes, where we put our faith.
I am speaking from experience. I haven't always been a follower of Christ. I was a believer, but in anger chose to turn my back on God and live life the way I wanted. I began drinking alcohol and using drugs at age 14. I had no moral compass at all; if it made me happy, I did it. I went about my life, trampling on anyone who got in my way and not caring who got hurt in the process. I had no time for other people, unless it was for my benefit. I was hateful towards the very people who loved me the most and I thought my life was great. I couldn't have been so wrong. No the change in me didn't come overnight. It took many years and the love of my family, despite myself, but when I finally realized that life my way wasn't working, I sought the One who wrote the instruction manual for life. The more I let God into my life and the more I trusted His Word, the better I became as a person and the more I started to care about others. I'm not perfect by any means but I'm a whole lot better than I was. My happiness is no longer the most important thing to me, yet focusing on the happiness of others has made me happier than I ever was. God did that for me and He can do that for you or anyone else who asks Him.
With Christmas just a little over a week away, we will celebrate the birth of the Savior. Jesus was born with one purpose, to die to save us from the destruction of sin. His life on this earth was not spent hanging out with the Godly, but dining and talking with the worst of the worst, loving them and making them want to change for the better, one person at a time. Luke 19:10 says, "For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost." If you haven't made the choice to let God direct your life, give yourself the best Christmas present ever and give God a try. It will change the way you live, the way you raise your children, the way you treat others, and you might just find your life happier than its ever been. Change happens one person at a time and now is that time.
As we weep for those lost today and for other senseless losses, I know the Savior weeps with us as He waits patiently for us to cry out to Him to save this rotting world. I will be praying without ceasing that one day this world will be peaceful and that all will come to know Him. I will be praying for the families who have been visited by evil such as this that they will come to know the peace of God. And I will be praying that the change that can only comes from personally knowing the Savior will take effect in all who are missing it.
I wish you all a very Blessed Christmas Season! Remember to hug your children a little tighter and a little longer; tell your family you love them; don't let the sun set on your anger; extend your hand to a neighbor and pray, not just for a little while, but always.
Until next time,