Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Horror of Sandy Hook

For days I’ve watched the news coverage about the Sandy Hook massacre, reading story after story about those moments of fear, and wondering what was wrong with me that although I am horrified over the events and heartbroken for everyone involved, none of the stories had yet made me cry.

Something changed that for me today.

I was again reading news reports, this time about the funerals that are now taking place, and I read a quote from the mother of one of the little girls who was gunned down. She said, “It’s still not real that my little girl who was so full of life and who wants a horse so badly and who’s going to get cowgirl boots for Christmas isn’t coming home.”

That’s the one that got to me, because I know a girl…a grown-up girl…but one who is likewise so full of life and wants (another!) horse so badly and who will most likely wear her cowgirl boots on Christmas. And though she’s not my daughter in real life, she is in my heart where it counts, and I am so thankful today that I still have the chance to tell her that she makes me laugh and fills my days with joy and to wish her a Merry Christmas and a life filled with many, many more of the same.
There’s no greater gift we can receive this Christmas than a fresh realization of how much the people around us truly mean to us, and to still have the chance to tell them so. Sandy Hook has given us that, and it would be a further crime to let that opportunity die with those kids.

It was with joy that I wrote her a Christmas card today with that message inside. I wished her luck on getting (another!) pony for Christmas, but told her regardless of how that turned out, to wear her cowgirl boots to the table with pride.

"Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law."
(Romans 13:8 NKJV)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Believer Boot Camp

By now you’ve likely seen the picture and heard the story of New York Police Officer Lawrence DePrimo’s act of kindness to a barefoot homeless man for whom he purchased a pair of thermal socks and all-weather boots on a bitterly cold night in November. The story has touched hearts all around the globe after the photo was posted on Facebook and became an instant internet sensation.

What struck me most about the incident was that the officer said he hadn’t given a thought to spending the money on the man; he simply saw a need and met it, considering it part of his job.

Part of his job. Oh, that we would catch that, and remember that as believers we, too, are here to be a blessing, to give rather than receive, to put others’ cold feet and hungry bellies ahead of our own financial bottom line. Living generously ought likewise to be the natural outflow of our grateful hearts, a way of life that doesn’t require conscious thought but becomes as natural as breathing; we take His love in, and we give it back out, repeatedly, perpetually, endlessly, in any way we can.

Without giving it a thought. Sadly, too many of us live life the other way, so focused on keeping our own heads above water that it simply doesn’t occur to us to throw a life ring to those struggling along beside us. Stories like this one are important because they remind us of our purpose and inspire us to be living outwardly instead of thinking only of ourselves. Perhaps that’s why the Bible tells us to fix our eyes on the good things around us and to think on those things. What we see before us continually is recreated in our lives.

More recent news stories reveal that the boot beneficiary’s actions after the fact have been less than stellar, but they in no way negate the goodness of the policeman’s actions or devalue the choice that he made. Our actions stand on their merit alone and will eventually be judged accordingly.

Perhaps we’d be wise to give them some thought after all.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.”
(Philippians 4:8)
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