T'was the Night Before Nothing...
Written by Donna on 29 December 2012.

A little over 2 weeks ago, many of our celebratory spirits were shattered by the news of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.

A little over a week ago, many were back to their routines of last minute Christmas shopping.

We seem to take death so much in stride today. Sure, there were memorials for the victims headlining the news. Yes, there were events where the names of the victims were read on national TV. Yes, multitudes of condolences and flowers and notes and cards have been accumulating from all over the world in the small Connecticut city of Newtown.

But life for most of us is pretty much back to normal.

To be frank, tragedies such as indiscriminant, senseless mass killings don’t usually affect me like this one did. I used to say that nothing really surprised me anymore, although diabolical schemes like the mass killings do indeed anger me. And please don’t misunderstand – all the tragedies of suicide bombers in the Middle East, violent rampages on our college and high school campuses, and the like, grieve my heart just like they do everyone else’s. Any life that is cut short by a random, senseless act of violence is an emotional upheaval for most everyone who is sane and has any level of decency or compassion for fellow men. But the Newtown killings shook me in a way that I have not experienced in the past. And I think the reason is because the majority of victims were so young, coupled with the fact that the killer was of the age group that my ministry was established to minister to.

However, on Christmas Eve, the news team for a local TV channel said something that has not set well with me since I heard them say it. Before playing a news clip with celebrities quoting “The Night Before Christmas,” the news anchor person said, “And now, with the most widely known and memorized Christmas story of all time, here’s ‘t’was the Night Before Christmas…”

Those words struck me in my heart like a fiery blade: “… the most widely known and memorized Christmas story… ‘the Night Before Christmas…”

So with Sandy Hook Elementary School still weighing on the hearts of the country and world, the most widely known and memorized Christmas story has to do with a fictitious character and his fictitious flying reindeer and his fictitious gifts?

So as we are still reeling over the shootings, the Savior and His story, after Whom the Christmas holiday is named, after all, is not the most widely known Christmas story. I would venture to say that’s why we ultimately face the multitudes of tragedies that we do against our children (tragedies that are taking place with more and more frequency, I might add).

But our Christian constituency finds some consolation over our ineffectiveness in ministering the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our nation and in the schools by saying, “Well, they took God out of the schools and look what’s happened since then.” Or they say, “They took prayer out of schools and it’s been replaced with guns.”

And that is partially true – prayer was removed by the Supreme Court from being a routine that starts the students’ day. And it is true, indeed, that violence in our schools has erupted to monumental levels since then. But “they” are not the ones who are ultimately responsible for prayer or God not being “in the schools.”

Please note: Whenever a tragedy like this strikes, every news anchor and reporter who reports on it quotes, “We send out prayers to the families of the victims.” They send prayers “out”? Why are they sending prayers “out” to the families and loved ones? Prayer should not be going out to people. Prayers should be going out to God, or up to God, for the families, not to the families. Average people who don’t have a relationship with the Lord don’t even have enough knowledge about prayer to know that the target of their prayers is God, not people. They’re just saying something that sounds religious so it seems like they are putting such in the hands of Someone Who is capable of dealing with the grieving hearts and weakened spirits of men.

And so we have come full circle. And I make the following conclusions:
  1. A religious atmosphere does nothing to ignite the true power of God.

  2. “They” didn’t take prayer out of schools. “We” did.

  3. “They” didn’t take God out of our schools. “We” did

  4. If parents, grandparents and guardians who profess to fear, love and serve God teach their children to pray, and children are in the schools daily, no law in this universe can stop your children and grandchildren from praying in the schools. If prayer was real to the parents, guardians and grandparents, prayer would be real to the children.

  5. The most widely known Christmas story, “The Night Before Christmas,” needs to lose its throne to the true Christmas story about the birth of Jesus Christ.
Because without Jesus Christ, there is no Christmas. It’d be “T’was the night before nothing…”