When Christmas is a Loaded Gun

The news is loaded with gun stories this time of year, have you noticed?

Yesterday was the gunman in the school board meeting in Florida.

The bravery of a woman with a big purse (remind me to supersize my pocketbook), the board member who offered his own life for the others’ freedom, the miraculous bullet that didn’t take his life, the tragic end for a man who needed help not a loaded weapon.

Today, the local paper tells about an off-duty police officer who, in a moment of road rage, pulled his weapon to intimidate a tailgater. (Whatever happened to good old hand gestures?)

A veteran who ended his life in the parking lot of the VA hospital with a single gunshot.

A report that says that even with every loaded gun available to our armed forces, we are only making fragile progress in Afghanistan.

Loaded guns can be terrifying and powerful but they usually backfire and, often, they don’t hit the intended target. Jesus did not come into the world with guns blazing. That’s not just a lovely religious story – it’s a billboard for God’s way of doing things.

But Christmas, or what we’ve made it to be, feels like a loaded gun to many of us.

It’s pointed in our direction and by Saturday, we’ll hear the click of the ammo as it falls into place. We’ll race around the stores, our homes, our offices, our lives like ducks in a carnival game hoping to avoid the blast.

And in just a week, the Grinch of days will pull the trigger on the holiday rush and we’ll be caught in his sites – BLAM!

We’ll be in the bulls-eye of family gatherings that will either lift us up or tear us to shreds or both. Or we’ll be struck with the shrapnel of lives destroyed by disease or divorce or death. The loneliness of facing a holiday without the noise and laughter of loved ones.

Or we’ll enjoy superficial perfection followed by a lingering internal bleed that prods us to think that there must be more to it than this. Or we’ll be grazed by the bullet of changing days, of time marching on, of forward movement toward the passing of our singular lives on this earth.

But some of us will take the shot, secure behind the Kevlar vest of the knowledge that our lives are eternal.

We know that the Jesus we celebrate is not a one-day holiday event but a sure source of help on any given day. We are secure in the fact that Jesus will remain well past New Year’s when the smiles fade, the bills come due, the snows fall, and the gifts have all been returned.

People who pull guns before the holidays are simply playing out the High Noon of what others feel that Christmas without Christ is madness and a recipe for gunpowder and high-velocity fireworks.

God, the Father, sent His son, unarmed, into a world of thugs, barbarians and the highly trained killing machine known as the Roman Empire.

I want my son wrapped in a suit of armor on a good day but the God of the universe dressed His only Son in vulnerable baby flesh and fired Him off to defeat the enemy, the enemy who had us dead to rights, his missiles locked and loaded, full-joy on the kill shot.

And Jesus did defeat the enemy, the ultimate enemy, using His own body as the bullet,

His love for the Father and for us as the gunpowder and His faithful obedience to pull the trigger

He detonated a plan that destroyed the terrorist plot against humanity.

THAT is the shot heard round the world, loved ones.

The man with the gun in the school board meeting needed Jesus. So, did the school board members.

The police officer and his tailgater both need Jesus. As did the vet alone in his car in the parking lot.

The soldiers in Afghanistan need Jesus and so do the terrorists they battle.

Lately, it seems to many people that what we need to solve our problems are loaded guns. But in Jesus Christ, God showed us how to take on a terrorist with the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ.

The world doesn’t need stockings full of toys, family around the table, perfect Christmas trees or food baskets – not really.

The world doesn’t need another loaded gun.

The world needs Jesus Christ.

You need Jesus Christ.

This is the message delivered, not by Hallmark, but by angels. Hark, the herald, people and holster your weapons, it’s Christmas and there is a new sheriff in town and, by golly, He’s the law in these here parts.

John 3:16-21 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”

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1 Comment

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  1. Great post, Lori! Merry Christmas to you!