There come times in a pastor’s ministry when a sermon needs to be scraped and completely rewritten at a moment’s notice.

Yesterday was such a time for me (and I would guess most pastors across this land).

The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT has left many people in a state of confusion, sadness, fear, anger…and a list of other emotions.  People have been asking that all too difficult to answer “Why?” question.

Knee-jerk responses have been offered.
Political statements have been made.
Rumors have circulated.
Theories have been postulated.

All of which have not been too helpful…but they are natural responses to a horrific event.  But as a pastor, I need to respond in a different way.  I need to share the light of Christ in the midst of darkness; hope in the midst hopelessness; life in the midst of death; peace in the midst of chaos; Good News in the midst of Satan’s reign of tyranny.

We can not remain silent (even though I was not planning on preaching at Salem this morning).

You see…today is Christmas program Sunday at Salem (Belmont has their program on Saturday).  It’s a Sunday I usually don’t say too much because the kids “preach” the sermon.  I usually only offer up a couple words at Salem (preaching a full sermon at Belmont) and that’s it.

Not today

So as I wrote yesterday afternoon I found my fingers hi-jacked by the Holy Spirit as words flew across my lap top screen.  My faith was poured out into words as I reflected on the Christmas story; realizing that everything fit perfectly.  I was not deviating from the message the kids shared; for this is a season of hope.

For you see…Jesus was born into our world of suffering to bring hope.  Death and sin and evil do not have the last word…God does in Jesus Christ.  And that’s where I find comfort in the midst of such tragedy.  There are so many questions to ask and so many answers to seek.  But what we need to cling to is the love of God that was shown to us at Christmas and through the cross.  This world doesn’t make sense but praise be to God – God has overcome the world.  Find strength and healing in God through Jesus Christ and not in knee-jerk, worldly “answers”.

Blessings to you this day as you grieve and mourn with the hope of the resurrection. Praise be to God!

Have a Merry Christmas!

The pastor -|—