“A voice is heard in Ramah,Yesterday, just 11 days before Christmas, in what would seem the unlikeliest of places, unthinkable violence erupted. In the small, scenic New England town of Newtown, Connecticut, 20-year-old Adam Lanza committed mass murder, then killed himself. The setting for this horrific crime was--of all places--an elementary school. At the time of this writing the death toll stands at 28, most of whom were children aged 6-7 years.
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.” (Matt 2:16-18)
Why? How do you explain the incomprehensible? How do you attempt to make sense of the senseless?
The words of Michael Card's "Spirit of the Age" ring hauntingly true:
I thought that I heard crying coming through my door.
Was it Rachel weeping for her sons who were no more?
Could it have been the babies crying for themselves,
Never understanding that they died for someone else?
Albert Mohler brings perspective with his reminder that the massacre of children is hardly a new crime:
This tragedy is compounded in emotional force by the fact that it comes in such close proximity to Christmas, but let us never forget that there was the mass murder of children in the Christmas story as well. King Herod’s murderous decree that all baby boys under two years of age should be killed prompted Matthew to cite this very verse from Jeremiah. Rachel again was weeping for her children.
A voice is heard of weeping and of wailing,
History speaks of it on every page.
Of innocent and helpless little babies,
Offerings to the spirit of the age.
Our memories can be mercifully short, but Mohler does well to remind us that Newtown's tragedy is more common that we might wish:
The twentieth century forced us to see the ovens of the Nazi death camps, the killing fields of Cambodia, the inhumanity of the Soviet gulags, and the failure of the world to stop such atrocities before they happened. We cannot talk of our times without reference to Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin, Pol Pot and Charles Manson, Idi Amin and Ted Bundy. More recently, we see evil in the impassive faces of Osama bin Laden and Anders Behring Brevik. We will now add yet another name to the roll call of mass murderers. His will not be the last.
No way of understanding this sad and painful sign.
Whenever Satan rears his head there comes a tragic time.
If he could crush the cradle, then that would stop the cross.
He knew that once the Light was born his every hope was lost
Russell Moore brings us back to the real Christmas story:
Jesus was not born into a gauzy, sentimental winter wonderland of sweetly-singing angels and cute reindeer nuzzling one another at the side of his manger. He was born into a war-zone. And at the very rumor of his coming, Herod vowed to see him dead, right along with thousands of his brothers. History in Bethlehem, as before and as now, is riddled with the bodies of murdered children. (via Heavenly Springs)
Satan does not wage war by the Geneva Convention. His hatred of God and all that He has created is absolute. He wants nothing less than our destruction and damnation. He particularly delights in the corruption and manipulation of mankind, which God created as His own image-bearers, to carry out the wanton destruction of itself. And children are not to be spared.
Now every age had heard it, this voice that speaks from hell.
"Sacrifice your children and for you it will be well."
The subtle serpent's lying, his dark and ruthless rage.
Behold it is revealed to be the spirit of the age!
So where do we go to find comfort and hope in the midst of such tragedy? As with all things with respect to this world, our hope lies in the promise of eternity. There will be justice. There will be comfort. There will be victory.
Soon all the ones who seemed to die for nothing
Will stand beside the Ancient of Days,
With joy we'll see that Infant from the manger
Come and crush the spirit of the age!
Come, Lord Jesus!