In an ordinary manger in an ordinary town, a small child was born to lead:
“Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod” (Matthew 2:1).
His birth disturbed many:
“King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem” (Matthew 2:3).
His birth moved many:
“Wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. when they say the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:9-11).
On December 14, 2012, in an ordinary elementary school classroom, (20) precious children’s lives led a nation.
Their lives disturbed many. Their lives moved many.
There is no way to even begin to understand the tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary. There hasn’t been one minute this past week where I haven’t thought of each and every family.
As I wrap presents for my children, I think of them.
As I buy groceries for Christmas dinner, I think of them.
As I open Christmas letters and bask in the beauty of their family pictures and stories, I think of them.
I have found comfort in God’s Word, especially as I’ve meditated on Matthew 2:3-11. There are two reactions, as I’ve noted, here in this historical account: some were disturbed and some were moved.
It is my Christmas prayer that the Sandy Hook tragedy will do the same:
- Disturb [to interfere with the normal arrangement or functioning of; to unsettle] us enough to move us towards both national and individual change.
Something in this nation, in our communities, in our hurting/divorcing families, must change.
On December 16, just two days after Sandy Hook, President Obama personified emotional disturbance and moved us with his words.
“This is our first task — caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged. And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we are meeting our obligations? Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children — all of them — safe from harm? Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know that they are loved, and teaching them to love in return? Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose? I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change.” He continued, “‘Let the little children come to me,’ Jesus said, ‘and do not hinder them — for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’”
Today I am remembering each child and asking Jesus, “What can I do to help bring change to this nation? to my sphere of influence? to my own family?” I found a haunting prayer by Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596) that I am using in my personal devotion/prayer time (Disturb Us, Lord Prayer). As the nation honors these children and teachers with a moment of silence today, may we each do the same.
Rachel, Dawn, Mary, and Victoria
Benjamin Wheeler, age 6
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