As we think about Sandy Hook one week later, I included a link to my first response to the tragedy. You can also see the first two parts of Mary’s Song.
These Children are Our Children.Mary’s Song Part One and a big ole Christmas treeMary’s Song Part Two: A Prayer for Sandy Hook, and Gossip Girl (Trust me, it fits)
Mary’s Song: Luke 1:46-55
And Mary said, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed for the Mighty One has done great things for meâ€”Holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts, He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever even as he said to our fathers.
Mary is singing her praise song to God for breaking His silence, because he noticed her, and next she starts singing about his might and holiness.
In verse 49, She says â€œthe Mighty One has done great things for me; Holy is His name.â€
Mary lists the Mighty Acts of God: He scatters the proud, brings down rulers from their thrones, sends the rich away empty; but He fills the hungry with good things, lifts up the humble, and remembers His people.
See, here is whatâ€™s fascinating about the birth of Jesus….After Mary returned home from Elizabethâ€™s house and towards the the end of her pregnancy, Luke tell us that Caesar Augustus, this emperor who considered himself to be the lord and savior, wanted to take a census. Augustus was doing a census to find out how large his domain is, how many people he lorded over, and how many people should be paying him taxes. In other words, He wanted to gain money and power. So, everyone in his empire had to return to their hometowns and register for the census.
Little did Caesar Augustus know that on the outskirts of his kingdom that census would spark Mary and Joseph to go to Josephâ€™s hometown of Bethlehem–the town linked to King David– and in that teeny tiny town, in that teeny tiny manger, The Real Savior, the True Peace and Justice, the One and only Lord of all would be born.
There is a ministry called Samaritanâ€™s Purse. Maybe you participated in it this year. They do the Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes, where you fill a shoe-box for children living in poverty all over the world.
When Kevin and I lived in Zambia in 2005, some of the boxes arrived, and the wealthiest of Zambians put a little sumpin’ sumpin’ in a corrupt managerâ€™s pocket, and took the shoeboxes for themselves.
Now, donâ€™t let this story keep you from giving, because here is what happened: The Zambian pastor we worked with stood up in the middle of a church service without warning anyone and said, â€œShame on you. These boxes are not for you or me. These are for your neighbors down the street who have no food to eat and no shoes to wear. These children are supposed to feel the love of God through these boxes and you have stolen it from them.”
He made them return the boxes and hand-deliver them to the children living in the slums, literally just down the street.
God is so Mighty and Holy that His purposes are accomplished, even when prideful people try to stop his will.
In the book of Matthew, we find out that King Herod is so threatened by the birth of Jesus that he demands all of the boys two years and younger in Bethlehem be killed. Because of that, Mary and Joseph flee to Egypt for a time fulfilling another prophecy about the coming Messiah– that he would be called out of Egypt.
What Augustus meant for evil, what Herod meant for evil, God meant for His glory! At the birth of Jesus, God is bringing down rulers from their thrones and scattering the prideful, and they donâ€™t even realize it’s happening.
One week after the senseless Sandy Hook tragedy that
is our only hope; that somehow God will show his might and holiness, take this evil and turn it into something good.
In the Heidelberg Catechism (an instruction in the Christian faith commissioned by Frederick III in 1562) the first question asked is this:
“What is your only comfort in life and in death?”
“That I am not my own, but belong–body and soul–in life and in death to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. HE ALSO WATCHES OVER ME IN SUCH A WAY THAT NOT A HAIR CAN FALL FROM Y HEAD WITHOUT THE WILL OF MY FATHER IN HEAVEN. IN FACT, ALL THINGS MUST WORK TOGETHER FOR MY SALVATION…”
My continued (and what feels so small in light of the enormity of this massacre) prayer is that the bereaved can somehow and supernaturally sense that God loves those children more than any of us could and that He is in the midst of this. May the entire community of Newtown sense God’s holiness and might, and be reminded that he knows every hair on their heads. May we all feel that this Christmas.
We’ll finish up Mary’s Song on Christmas Eve…In the meantime, how are you processing Sandy Hook one week later?