God is all-powerful, yet He gives us power over Him. He gives us the power to reject Him, to turn from Him, to condemn ourselves to an eternity without Him. I learned that mind-boggling truth in a homily I heard over the summer. I think of it now when evil erupts in the world, such as the slaughter of innocent children, as happened today in Connecticut.
Celestially speaking, we are only on Earth for the blink of an eye, whether we live to be 9 or 93. I just got home from a funeral for a 93-year old man whose family will mourn his death for years to come. The families of the shooting victims will never stop mourning their beloved children until they are reunited in Heaven.
Upon the death of a loved one or anyone who dies too soon, it is good to remember that we are not born to live. We are born to die. During our life, we must choose our path to eternity. Do we choose to be with God or without Him? We never know how long we will be given to make that choice. We are supposed to be ready to die at any moment.
On the way to church tonight, I heard “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” on a local Christian station. On the way home I listened to a news station which aired an interview with a teacher at the Connecticut school who took steps to hide her students from the gunman during the rampage. After attending the FBI National Citizens Academy Alumni Association leadership conference in September, I shared a YouTube video with instructions on what to do should you ever find yourself in an active shooter scenario. The title of it is “Run, Hide, Fight.”
My friend Rich Hailey pointed out on his blog that each year the families of the victims will “approach the Christmas season with dread instead of cheer.” He reminds us to focus on the victims, not the evildoer.
Each Christmas we celebrate God coming to Earth in the form of Jesus. Even when faced with His physical presence, there were many who rejected Him and chose to execute Him. At Easter, we celebrate Christ’s power over death, which He offers to those who accept Him rather than reject Him.