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Hollywood’s champions of leftist cant are the very people most likely to clamor for gun control. Yet the industry they serve and profit from pollutes the world with myriad strange images of senseless, vengeful murder – in movies, TV shows, video games, comic books, etc. Like Adam Lanza (who glutted himself upon their offal), the so-called entertainment industry is pre-occupied with vengeful killing. Many of its minions seem, above all else, to celebrate the valley of the shadow of death and to take it as their aim to morph grotesque figures of horror (vampires, zombies, cannibals and profane mercenary warriors, self-worshiping killers bereft of respect or allegiance to God or humanity) into perversely sympathetic, even romantic figures whose evil is the antidote to evil that alone shall save humanity.
The end result of the evil fictions that these days pass for entertainment is a vision of the world in which defenseless victims populate the fields of violent combat upon which evil battles evil, trampling out the bloody vintages of spiritual death. And what shall be determined by the outcome of their battle? It will decide upon which altar of self-worship innocent souls are to be sacrificed to the pervasive force of evil that now purports to threaten, save and ultimately dominate us all.
If your eyes were open you would see that the bloody images of physical death Adam Lanza left behind at Sandy Hill are but the products of the spiritual death that claimed his soul before he got there. Such as he are truly the “living dead,” the spiritual counterparts of our posterity slaughtered by the abortion of hope we profanely honor with the name of right. There are millions of innocents physically dead, in whom we refuse to acknowledge the birthright of humanity. Are there millions like Adam Lanza, dead in heart and spirit, hidden from our sight because we fear to acknowledge in them what we are loath to admit in ourselves? Better to fear the gun than face the truth: Arms are fearful instruments of murder only in the hands of those whose hearts and spirits have already been done to death by lies that in our time are every day assaulting the hearts of all.
This week on my blog I began posting what will be a number of articles aimed at thinking through the nature and aftermath of the slaughter of innocents in Connecticut. Given the secularized, materialistic understanding of the Christmas season prevalent in our society these days, some people think that the terrible events in Newtown conflict with the mood of peaceful fun and levity they imagine as the requisite context for Christmas. But the true Christmas story suggests otherwise. In the context of Christ’s birth, there was also a slaughter of innocents.
“When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under. …” (Matthew 2:16)
Fearful, self-idolizing human pride and ambition have no regard for innocence. Unless we keep this in mind, we cannot really appreciate the ultimate purpose of Christ’s coming. He is born to be slain by that wickedness. He is the sluice through which pours the grace of God. He is the absolutely perfect sacrifice, acceptable to God. Therefore, all who enter into the stream of grace that comes through him are opened to the Spirit which saves them from the fate otherwise reserved for destroyers of innocence.
The Scriptural account of Herod’s massacre of innocents reminds us of the truth Christ will confirm upon the Cross, that the stream of grace is also a river of innocent blood. This is the reason that any celebration of the Holy Spirit of Christmas requires a solemn preparation. We are called to remember that judgment comes, on account of the self-exalting nature of the choice by which humanity destroyed, and still destroys, the innocent life that God’s benevolent will intends for us, first, last and always. We are called to remember the way of God’s love, so perfectly forgiving that even before we fall He has prepared Himself to be the means by which we are raised up again. We are called to remember that physical death, for all its seeming horror, touches not the life which comes by way of Christ, who “was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God.” (2 Corinthians 13:3) For why is Christmas, if not to affirm that those reborn in Christ are called to celebrate, every year and in every moment of the year, his living presence: his life renewing ours and so in ours made manifest. (2 Corinthians 4:10)
With this in mind we must look upon the Newtown massacre with eyes that are not taken in by the grotesque images of physical death which are the artifacts of evil.
“For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:16)
The representation of true death in Newtown lies, therefore, not in the bodies of the innocents slain, but in the deadly heart of the one who slew them. “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil plans, fornications, thefts, murders. …” (Mark 7:21) As some idea of Newtown butcher Adam Lanza’s heart emerges from the history of his life, Christ’s wisdom is confirmed. His heart seems marred by all the hallmarks of the children of Cain. (Genesis 4:23) There is the vaulting sense that “more is thy due than more than all can pay”; the vainglory, therefore of injured pride; and withal the vengeful preoccupation with senseless, warlike violence. For their own purposes some people want to pretend that the arms he used somehow epitomize the evil that laid hold of him. But “there is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him. …” (Mark 7:15) It is not what fills the hand, but what preoccupies the heart that opens the sluice of evil.
Whatever the pretensions of our politics or our so-called psychology, we have proven altogether incapable of dealing with this source of evil on our own. When we are driven to acknowledge this, however painful the experience that does so, we come to the place that opens us to the true significance of the birth of Christ. He comes in seeming helplessness so that in helplessness we may come to understand that God is with us. He will die in seeming helplessness so that, in the face of spiritual death, we come to understand that God forgives us. He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. He knows, in consequence, the heart of wickedness that destroys our innocent life. But in place of that heart, he offers us His heart of love, which is in truth the very heart of God. This is the true exchange, the precious Christmas gift that is our cause for joy. So, Be Joyful!