Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cameron Smith: So this is Christmas?

  On December 14, 2012, Americans saw the darkness in Newtown, Connecticut. And for many of us it is hard to grasp, maybe impossible. How could a young man be so full of pain and rage that he would take so many young lives? Where are the answers? What can we do? What “serious” conversations can be had? What laws can be passed? But the cold darkness settles on our souls as a steady procession of tiny coffins are lowered into the ground.

  So this is Christmas?

  For most of the year, American culture moves so fast and flashes so bright that we are mostly able to ignore the darkness and pain in our own lives and in those around us. In fact, many of us try to keep the holidays speeding along by spending that extra day or two at the office to get ahead at work, racing from one kid’s activity to the next, or filling our social calendars with parties and family outings. But the darkness and pain are there. Nobody has to convince us. We know it, we feel it, and we run from it, all while handing out smiles, holiday greetings, and fruitcakes.

  So this is Christmas?

  Our economy is still struggling to recover. Many are out of work or underemployed trying to make ends meet. At the same time, politicians in Washington are potentially battling their way over the “fiscal cliff.” The result could be even more money taken out of shrinking paychecks. While Washington and much of the media focus on fiscal issues, many Americans are experiencing the darkness that comes with an even greater hope deficit.

  So this is Christmas?


  We celebrate Christmas because we need to be reminded of a life and of a light which shines in the darkness. A light that even the darkness of the grave has been unable to overcome.

  We also need to remember how that immensely powerful light arrived. It was not a mighty soldier, a powerful politician, or a wealthy businessman. In a world not so far from our own, to a people not so different from us, the light was a child born into the humblest of circumstances. He might have just as easily been born in the back room of a bar, a soup kitchen, or a ghetto.

  That unassuming child was the light that has pierced the darkness for billions of people throughout human history. Christmas reminds us that this light continues to shine brightly even in our modern world. We see that light imperfectly but powerfully reflected in the lives of those who believe in that child. It is found in the executive who gives his overcoat and shoes to the homeless man, in the family of modest means providing for the needs of strangers before putting presents under their own tree, and even in a Newtown father empathizing with the family of the man who killed his daughter.

  As we have painfully seen, the darkness has not departed and has not changed. We cannot “fix” it, we cannot escape it, and the government cannot legislate it away. But those of us whose light is ignited by the birth, life, and death of that child born in a manger will not be overcome by it. We have no greater calling than to reflect that light and let it shine in the darkness so that those who cross our paths may find hope.

  Yes, this is Christmas.

  About the author: Cameron Smith is General Counsel and Policy Director for the Alabama Policy Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit research and education organization dedicated to the preservation of free markets, limited government and strong families, which are indispensable to a prosperous society.

  This article was published by the Alabama Policy Institute. 

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