I was physically sick when I heard the news. The mass murder of children and adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut is shocking and sadly too common. Evil is a reality in our world, and, tragically, evil has been perpetrated on children for centuries. Just before the birth of Moses, Pharaoh commanded that all Hebrew males were to be killed (Ex. 1:3). When Israel entered the Promised Land, the Ammonites practiced child sacrifice, offering their newborns to the god Molech (Lev. 18:10). And at the Birth of Christ, the very first Christmas, King Herod commanded that all male children born in Bethlehem, two years old and younger, be put to death (Matt. 1:16-18).
God allows evil because this is a moral universe where our free choices really matter. Without free will evil wouldn’t exist, but neither would love. While we don’t know the reason why God didn’t intervene to stop this particular evil, we do know what the reason can’t be—it can’t be because He doesn’t love us. The glorious truth of Christmas is that God so loved the world that He sent us His only begotten Son in the form of a child to save us. The eternal Logos (Word) of God entered human flesh (John 1). He entered the sphere of human suffering, tragedy and death and took it upon Himself. In His human life on earth Christ was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3), and it is for that reason that He is able to heal and comfort those who grieve. The very purpose of His birth and life was to defeat sin and death by serving as a sacrifice for our sin.
Now marinate on that thought: Because of His love for us, the Creator of the universe did not spare Himself from suffering! Christ suffered and paid it all.
So as we grieve this Christmas as many did at the first Christmas, we need to praise God. It is because of Christ that death doesn’t get the last word. He defeated death and evil by rising from the dead (Luke 24:1-12). With Christ there is victory and hope beyond this world riddled with evil and death.
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