(S)he Who Forgets the Past

The newest ornament on our tree

When I wrote my post on Wednesday about the prevalence of school violence, I had no idea that the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary was only a few short hours away. None of us did.

Shortly after word began circulating the news outlets, I opened my Bible. I admit that choosing to read for those few minutes wasn’t an act of Christian piety or spiritual superiority. Far from it. I needed to read because I needed to not think about Sandy Hook. Like so many people in this country, my mind was ablaze with terrible thoughts from the moment I heard the story.

As Newtown began its unfathomable appointment with grief, questions scrolled in my mind like neon messages on an electric sign.

How has our country become this evil? How do we recover from news like this? Has everything changed? What do we do now?

My daily Bible reading schedule listed Matthew 1 and 2 for the day. And in my best attempt to escape thoughts of devastation, I started reading the Christmas story in these chapters. Soon enough, however, I came to verse 16, which reads as follows:

“Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men” (ESV).

And there it was–only 4 verses after the wise men delivered their  famous gold, frankincense, and myrrh, these same wise men played a role (however unintentional) in the slaughtering of innocents. And where I once heard that part of the story and thought it sad, on Friday I read it and thought it devastating.

In that moment, I stood toe to toe with the following truths:

Evil has always been present. Nothing has changed. We recover today the same way they recovered in the first century–

We trust that a sovereign God has a perfect plan for suffering people.


  1. Amen.

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