Evil on Christmas
An acquaintance was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. In spite of aggressive treatments, she was steadily declining, but still able to get around and live life somewhat. Saturday was her son’s birthday and they had a party for him, but she was kind of out of it. Her husband gave her morphine for the first time ever that night. In the morning she was worse, so they took her to the hospital. After examining her, the doctors gave her 2-24 hours. She died that afternoon, Christmas day.
Another family that many of my friends know had a 17 year old son with a congenital heart problem and several close calls and near death experiences, which he shared on YouTube one week before Christmas. He also died Christmas day.
Christmas night, I watched the news with my folks to see three homes destroyed by fire, several robberies of some of the few businesses open on Christmas, and various shootings. And on it went.
Yesterday I wrote about how Christmas seems less special every year, yet every day is lifted up by the events of that first Christmas.
Evil, sin, decay and death do not rest—they take no holiday. In fact, I suspect Satan redoubles his efforts at chaos on the days we are most likely to turn to God in joy. His aim is to make God look small and impotent, so that we turn away in doubt, anger, fear and loss of faith.
The reason he seems so successful at this ploy is that we expect good things to happen in life, and tend to not notice when things go as expected. That is part of why the news programs are usually about bad things—they disturb our sense of rightness of the world, so they stand out.
However, the good things in the world do not rest either. God’s hand is active for good, and we don’t notice the bad things that don’t happen—the things He’s prevented from occurring or protected us from. Kids rarely notice or show gratitude for the meals their parents prepare for them, but they sure notice it when the meal doesn’t come. The same principle holds for our daily lives in God’s hands.
It does not make events like Pam’s or Ben’s deaths, the house fires, the robberies and other violence any less tragic. They are tragic. They are devastating. They do shape how the survivors view Christmas from here on out. They are the result of a fallen world and the work of evil and sin. But there is real comfort in realizing that when we look for it, real blessings and true goodness do surround us and we are delivered from much of the evil available and willing to strike. And there is real comfort in knowing this apparent impunity of tribulation is only temporary.
It will end soon, and we will have an eternity to rejoice in freedom from that oppression, and it will be spent with those whom the Shadow only appears to have conquered. We will find them ultimately victorious on the other side, waiting to hear how it went for us. Let us live so we have a good story to tell them.