“The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light, and those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them dawned a great light” (Matthew 4:16, NASB).
This year, our Thanksgiving and Christmas and Hanukkah holiday season has been turned upside down by the need of the businesses that make their greatest earnings at this time of the year. A friend, the Rev. Jeff Beebe, associate pastor of St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Boca Raton, Fla., preached that message a few weeks ago and I agree with him.
The day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, when many stores open early in the morning, was changed this year, becoming Black Thursday. Thanksgiving, a truly American holiday where Americans would gather as families around their dinner tables to get together to enjoy each other’s company and to thank God for the blessings He has bestowed upon us, has been taken over by the uncertainty of the future and greed prevailing throughout our land and the world. Christmas has become a commercial-loaded and materialistic-directed holiday. In many places throughout the country nativity scenes, which remind of us the true meaning of the day, had figurines stolen or broken.
Then, the unthinkable occurred in Newtown, Conn. A madman forced his way into an elementary school and shot 20 innocent little children and six adults who tried to shield as many of their students as possible. This act brought darkness, not only to Newtown, but to the whole country. Mourning and grieving has gripped these United States. The true meaning of Christmas has been almost lost.
From this tragedy began an outpouring of love and kindness and compassion. People throughout the land began to reach out with all kinds of help for not only the families that were struck with death of a loved child or adult, but to the first responders who had never seen anything like this ever in their lives. Prayers were said for the people in Newtown by President Obama and peoples of all faiths.