Again we reach the time of the year that we celebrate the birth of Jesus with all of its gift-giving and spreading of cheer. This year, the anticipated Christmas joy has been shattered by the killing in Connecticut of 20 children and six adults by a lone gunman with a gun that shoots multiple bullets.
People are pointing out that there will be children's beds that are empty, gifts under the tree that will be left unopened, and empty chairs at the Christmas table. On the other side, people are being encouraged to hug their children a little tighter and tell them they love them. I would add that we all need to evaluate the relationship with our children and, indeed, our loved ones of all ages.
Too often we all assume that the ones we love know it, or that we show it and we don't need to tell them. It is also a time to give to the less fortunate in the spirit of Jesus' admonitions to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and generally take care of the least among us. Some churches show they care about the least of us by having a tree with gifts for the children. Others fail to act on God's admonition and choose to give gifts only to their un-needy leaders. Look around your church and ask how you can contribute to the gifts for the needy? It's wrong to forget our loved ones at Christmas and just as wrong to ignore God's admonition to care for the needy especially at this time of year.
We are reminded with the incident in Connecticut this year that we really don't know that our loved ones will be here tomorrow. After all there are probably 20 children killed every week in this country with our love affair with guns. They just aren't killed in one location as they were in Newtown, Connecticut. They are on the corners of our streets, in gangs, in Chicago, Los Angeles, and every large city in this country.
If we as Christians follow our charge and show our love with a simple gift at Christmas, we might demonstrate God's love and save a life. I watched singer/performer Jennifer Hudson being interviewed by Oprah. Hudson was asked if she had forgiven the killer of her mother, nephew and brother. Her answer was yes because if he had just been shown a little love as a child, he might have been different and had not done the terrible deed of taking lives. I looked around at my church and found no tree for the children and asked why not?
In the end, many of the killers are just kids who haven't been shown any love. The government shows its love by cancelling recreation, music and drama programs in the schools for children and teenagers in communities. They say it's too expensive. The Government show their love by cancelling programs for the mentally ill, but show their love by buying guns for wars. Surely God's people and church can show a little love for someone other than the pastor.
The result of withholding love is what we saw at Newtown, where a young man with an obvious mentally ill condition massacred twenty six people and then killed himself. And then there is the Christian church which was born to bring people together to serve Jesus. Many of them have lost their way, and instead of serving Christ, are serving a man in search of the almighty dollar. Many so-called Christians are promoting racial hatred with programs that spew out their hate of our Black President.
And so the question is, as it has always been ,"Where is the love?" The answer, likewise, is with the people, but people also have the capacity to hate.
This Christmas season, vow to display and invest your love and watch the returns. Invest something in your loved ones and the needy to replace the hate they get from schools and in the world. Drop something special this Christmas for someone, find someplace to give and share the love that God has given and blessed you with.