A Hard Reality Check This Advent Season

Devastating, unfathomable, bewildering, horrifying.

That’s the best my mind can do with today’s events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut with an hour’s reflection. This post is one way I’m trying to process it all.

Politicians are posturing. Parents are weeping. The self-righteous are cursing.

My friends (and myself) are asking things like: “How could this happen?” “Who could do such a thing?” Some are asking “Where was God?”

That’s a hard question that I won’t offer a tidy theological answer to. Yes, He allowed this to happen. Yes, He saw this coming. But it gets complicated, very quickly.

I think what is biting us hardest is that this is the reality we live in. A world where we are capable of doing this to each other.

We live in a world shattered by sin. We ourselves are personally infected with the fruit of our rebellion against our good, wise, loving Creator. The world is not all right. No, we won’t all be able to “just get along”. No laws will ever fully restrain the horror we are capable of. Thank God that they do currently, in whatever form laws take, restrain us from fully expressing our evil against each other.

These events are a bitter reminder of our brokenness that we try to medicate, shop, eat, and entertain ourselves into forgetting.

This is why we need the Advent season. The season where we acknowledge the dark, hard, sad realities of life. The season where we eagerly await the arrival of our Savior to forever wipe sin and suffering out. It is why we sing:

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here

Until the Son of God appear.

And

No more let sin and sorrow grow
No thorns infest the ground
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

So don’t waste this tragedy. Reflect on your own sin that in (perhaps smaller ways) likewise murders and steals. Acknowledge that this world is not as it should be. And recognize that a savior is coming, though He is not here yet. Wait with hope that one day every wrong shall be righted, justice will be done, and every tear wiped away. Perhaps most importantly for now: join His people as they seek to do His work in bringing about small glimpses of Heaven on Earth in the here and now, pushing back the darkness, nursing the sick, bringing comfort to the wounded, far as The Curse is found.