As I look back at the violence that has occurred and the aftermath the last few weeks I realize I should have responded earlier. In part I did not because I couldn't, because anything I said wouldn't have been right. When tragedy hits, there is no answer. There is nothing any religious or spiritual person can say that will make everything better or make the pain go away. There is NO easy button for pain and there is not a panic button that opens up the maze of chaos into an easy path out. For these reasons, I didn't respond. For nothing really needed to be said. Silence can be grief's best friend and in the wake of violence responding with silence is better then blame.
We can blame religious groups, we can blame guns, we can blame governments and we can find escape goats in every situation. But we need to own our own part in the story - our own contributions to each day that continue to stir the fires extremist, hate and most of all the anger that is needed for violence.
I am shocked at what people on FB just repost - most of all shocked for the amount of crazy things people believe and forward without looking into. We continue to divide ourselves and the world up by forgetting about the grey - forgetting about compassion and grace. We continue to make hasty and rash decisions and assumptions based on a few "news" worthy situations. We continue to trust that the "news" is actually reporting all of the news.
Anger, pain, violence, hate all that is evil is all around us. When we continue to blame and pin others as the reason for all the bad we are only living into evil. We are giving in and giving a name to the evil around us - the devil.
God has not left us. God has not forgotten about us. God does not continue to let all the bad things happen in the world. God is not watching us from afar and laughing at the destruction, but is instead weeping. Weeping with all of us who know that it is the world that has turned its back on God.
There is no war on Christmas. Christmas is here and all round us. People are "giving" in the "Spirit of Christmas" People are singing hymns of Christ's birth. But what all Christian's are forgetting is that this is not the time of "Christmas" - we are in the time of "Advent." A time of longing for Christ to come. A time for us to yearn for Christ in our lives. A time of thought, a time of wait and reflection. Let us then reflect, that perhaps now this Christmas. Instead of finding a nicely wrapped Christmas present under the tree. Instead of giving to an organization that will probably use your funds unwisely. Perhaps, you let God into your heart. Perhaps this holiday you take down one - or more - of your Facebook shares that continues to "other" people. Perhaps we open our hearts to the others around us, letting in love and grace. Perhaps this holiday we find real compassion in our hearts and live not so that the Devil has a name but so that all may truly know the name of our Savior - Christ Jesus.