Thursday, December 06, 2007

Senseless, Sadistic Slayings, a Part of Christmas in the 1st & 21st Centuries

Robert Hawkins was a 19 year old high school dropout that had been kicked out of his home by his family. Befriended by another family who reported that Hawkins was perpetually depressed, Wednesday Hawkins went to a shopping mall in Omaha, Nebraska. There he pulled out a gun, began firing into a crowd, killed eight people and then himself.

Hawkins left behind a suicide note that said he loved his parents and left his Jeep to his mother. He also commented that he would no longer be a burden to anyone and that he would now be famous.

With premeditation Hawkins took the lives of eight innocent people that he didn’t know and thereby sought to make something of his name. One mall patron commented, “It’s a terrible way to start the holiday season.”

As I imagine the grief of those whose loved ones were killed I’m saddened, angered and somewhat mystified. More will probably be said later about the psychological state of Hawkins and some will no doubt suggest that he was something of a victim himself. Those conclusions may address his suicide but not the killings.

Just as I did with the Virginia Tech killings, (see my post here) I’m going to contend again that what we’re seeing is evil. There is evil in this world and there is an Evil One who works evil against humanity. It is the presence of God in the lives of believers and in this world that holds evil in check to the degree that it is. Remove God from this world and we haven’t even begun to see how evil everyone and everything can be. It would be like removing the sun from this world, leaving it to complete pervasive darkness.

Please hear me carefully. I’m not trying to condemn Hawkins, his parents or anyone else in proximity to this tragedy. I’m simply pointing out that the reason the coming of Christ into this world and into our lives is Good News is because this world and our lives are bad news.

This was just as true at Christmas in the first century as it is in the twenty-first. You may recall that when the wise men came seeking the Christ child so that they could worship Him, King Herod evilly commanded that all the children in Bethlehem that were two years and younger should be put to death. Why, because Herod wanted to maintain a name for himself. He was not going lose his fame and name to some baby in a barn.

Friends, as fun as Santa and reindeer and trees and presents can be, that sentimental and commercialized expression of Christmas distracts us from the reality that we live in a broken and fallen world that desperately needs a Savior.

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