As we celebrate the birth of Christ and the hope that He alone can offer, let us remember the families in Newtown, Connecticut, and pray that God will supernaturally draw near to them in their time of deep, deep loss. Our hearts are broken for them. Those who lost their most precious little ones and other family members have seen their world shattered. From now on, the Christmas holidays will always bring back painful memories and thoughts of how old their loved one would be if they were still here. They will always wonder what they would be like at that age. Jesus and love-filled people are the only ones who can help lessen the pain these families are experiencing.
Satan is the author and instigator of all evil. He is the very personification of it. Even those who doubt or deny God cannot deny there is an obvious force of evil present in our world. Jesus said Satan is the father of all lies and, above all, a thief and murderer. He seeks to destroy life—every precious aspect of it. When he is in control, he continually manifests despicable, unimaginable acts defying all logic.
We are right to be abhorred by unspeakable brutality and murder of the innocent and the helpless. Such was the case a week ago when those little children and adults were murdered senselessly. Yes, it was demonic. No, the devil didn’t make him do it. The murderer made a horrible choice, seemingly the result of terrible mental, psychological, and emotional disturbance.
Such is the case when the resistance and clear-mindedness on anyone’s part has been compromised and diminished. Many things can negatively impact our spiritual and mental condition to some degree: addiction to alcohol or drugs, damaging emotions such as bitterness or envy, emotional or physical exhaustion. It can even be the result of self-intoxication, as with Herod at the time of Christ’s birth. He ordered the murder of all little boys under two years old in Bethlehem (Matt. 2:16). Satanic? Yes. Demonic? Yes. Even so, it was Herod’s choice to act on his evil schemes. Satan so detests freedom and godliness that he seeks to destroy any deliverer or possibility of deliverance.
In the fatherless home and the dysfunctional community I grew up in, you cannot imagine the suggestions other kids made to me, along with the fiery darts (horrific suggestions) Satan fired my way. I was vulnerable; but thanks be to God, praying Christians, a pastor and his wife who never forgot the boy they cared for the first few years of my life, and then the witness of committed Christian teenagers led me to the Christ whose birth we’re about to celebrate. I am convinced that the prayers of others (even before my conversion to Christ) helped prevent me from giving into violent impulses, especially when my alcoholic father threatened to take my life. Sadly, some choose to give in to their anger and act out in unimaginable ways.
Jesus is the answer. He was my answer and He is the sole answer for those who have been devastated by the events last week. Only a great God and a loving heavenly Father can give the people of Newtown the ultimate comfort they long for and must have. Caring neighbors, friends, and other Christians will seek to lighten their load and brighten their future. We rightly celebrate the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, because He is the only way to overcome evil and the evil one. He alone can direct our steps and help us build wise, secure walls of protection.
God’s Word should be our hedge of security. He wants His Word to be written in our hearts, not just carried in our hands. He wants His Word to carry and lead us and, as Paul said, write “letters in the hearts of other men’s lives” as a result of our consistent Christian testimony.
In addition to celebrating His birth, we need to praise God for the resurrection life He offers each day! Jesus came to overcome the evil one and to give us the ability to be delivered from that despicable, damaging influence. Because Christ was born and now lives, we live. May others see Jesus living in us.
Thirty years ago when I experienced a marvelous deliverance from the power of demonic assault due to spiritual burnout and physical exhaustion, I was undoubtedly vulnerable. During the time following my deliverance, God clearly revealed that in the last days evil will wax worse. Satan’s nature will be more obviously manifested than at any time in history with indescribable, unfathomable, despicable acts of evil. But the opposite of that is true also. The church (true Christians – fully devoted followers of Christ), will become more like Jesus than in any time in history because He is coming for a fit and ready bride that looks and behaves like Him. At Christ’s return, Satan will be destroyed, but until then, believers must stand suited up in the whole armor of God resisting evil on every front. We can be forever triumphant by snatching victory from the jaws of defeat when we allow the love, hope, and peace of Christ to prevail.
Jesus is God’s answer to man’s weakness and evil’s intention. Christmas and the rest of His story can become our story. Jesus took this broken, fatherless, and impoverished boy writing this commentary and delivered me from destruction and the intentions of the evil one. He will do the same for all who receive Him and follow Him with their whole heart. Jesus is the light that pierces the darkness. He offers strength beyond ourselves and grants us the grace and ability to share the hope, joy, and peace that only He can give in the face of the most challenging possible circumstances. Just as the shepherds and wise men followed the light of the Star of Bethlehem, we must follow the light of the forever bright and Morning Star – Jesus!
May you have a Christ-honoring Christmas and a God-honoring New Year!