Christmas exists because evil is real.

Christmas exists because evil is real.

 

You and I don’t often think of God visiting us. We might go visit God when we die, but we rarely think of God visiting us.

When we do, it’s almost always associated with a visit of God’s judgment. Anytime there’s a calamity or natural disaster, God’s bringing His bag of judgment. Typhoon, tornado or the Texans lose and “God visited, and he was torqued.” If you get into that mindset, though, then you only associate God with punishment and you fail to welcome Him when He wants to bring comfort, redemption, and rescue. We become fearful of Him rather than thankful for Him. We forget he is like the sunrise that visits us every day to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

There is an entire community in Newtown, CT that is sitting in darkness, in the shadow of death. Friday’s massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school revealed the depth of the darkness. Evil deeply unsettles us especially when it bears a human face. Evil planned and contemplated by one of us, a co-bearer of the Imago Dei, the image of God, well, that belongs on a deeper, darker shelf in the closet, and when it comes out, one truly wishes for a better lock on the closet door. A deadbolt keyed only from the outside, perhaps.

The depressing reality is that darkness can’t ultimately be kept at bay when in human form. It can be restrained by rules and laws and regulations, but human nature is infinitely more diabolical than rules and laws and regulations: it always wills a way to win. And when it lacks any semblance of eternal judgment, when absent of accountability to a Higher Being than the state, it strives to win at all costs.

When the human-led Sandy Hooks of the world happen, inevitably we demand a divine answer: “Sovereign gods should have a better handle on their worlds.” It is the age-old control conundrum: “I’d like evil controlled but I’d like my will unfettered.”

Evil is like darkness: both are the result of something being absent more than they are the result of something being present. They are what you get when you’re lacking what is better. Evil results when good goes. Darkness results when light leaves. Or, from the other side of the same coin, evil grows when good is kept at bay and darkness reigns when light is shut out.

Christmas exists because evil is real. Jesus came as the Savior of the world because the world needs a savior. He is God’s answer to evil. He is God’s compassionate light shining in a world living in the shadow of death.

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