Hell and Christmas

There is nothing to be done but weep. Cry out for the children with bodies shattered, for the ones covered in blood not their own, for the ones who didn’t die instantly. Cry out for those who fell protecting them. Cry out for the parents in their waiting. Cry out for sisters and brothers. Cry out for the little ones who heard the popping, who were led down a hall and told: close your eyes, childrenhold hands and close your eyes.

We weep not nearly long enough, and then we give ourselves over to anger. May the boy with the guns roast in eternal agony. May the entire membership of the NRA follow close behind. Throw in every quack psychiatrist and libertarian who facilitates loonies walking our streets. There’s still room in hell—there’s always room when we are the gatekeepers—so stuff in behind these the political opportunists, the blow-dried journalists interviewing traumatized children, the father of the boy with the guns, his brother for good measure, the man who sold the guns, and whoever designed the school locks. Burn them all, burn them all.

Jesus Christ. I said this all day long. Jesus Christ. All those children. Christ have mercy. I said it as a curse and as a plea. I was driving and I wept until I could barely see the road. What else can you do?

I know something of burying a child in the frozen earth. I knew it was coming, and I could be there when she died. These mothers and fathers sent their babies off to school to color pictures and learn the alphabet. Many of them can’t even see the bullet-torn bodies now. Christ, what a world. Jesus Christ.

Twenty children will go into the ground there this week. How does the earth receive them all, and not cry out? Sweet Christ, come soon. We weep because there is nothing else to be done but weep and wait.

Perhaps I am wrong. Maybe the politicians and pundits will fix things up nicely. We’ll pass laws and issue proclamations. We’ll imagine that what’s gone wrong here was a glitch in the machinery. We’ll fix the system and then we can stop our weeping, because something has been done. Something had been done by the hands of man and so man can tell himself that he is well, that his heart is not sickened unto death.

The world has come undone, and you and I know it. Maybe our politicians and professors and even our preachers have forgotten how to talk about it, but we know it all the same. This world is coming undone because it is a world of men, and because there is something more to man than sinew and synapse. There is a soul, and it is a darkened and dying thing.

It’s a hell of a thing to happen so close to Christmas. Then again, we used to have enough wisdom to prepare for Christmas with mourning. Whether it’s truth or myth to you, the story of a baby born for slaughter ought to give pause. The truth or myth of man is that his heart has turned black, and the blood of innocents is spilled as a consequence. Christ have mercy.

Greet your Christmas, then, with mourning. Mourn for those poor, godforsaken parents. And take hope, if you will, from a vision of twenty little ones entering heaven. Take hope in the hope that there is a world coming that even man cannot defile.

Comments

  1. Emily Gibson

    Tony,
    the tears in your words are what is needed right now. The slaughter of innocents after the birth of Christ was a time of weeping and mourning, evidence of the evil in the world He was born to conquer.

    Only God can glue together
    what evil has shattered.
    He just asks us to hand Him
    the pieces of our broken hearts.

  2. John

    Wow. You condemn the boy with the guns to Hell, but you do not even know if he could have been morally responsible for his actions. Maybe, just maybe, his brain didn’t work right. Maybe, just maybe, his understanding of Right was horribly broken by defective proteins that distorted his humanity past the breaking point. I don’t know what he was like, but I know that whatever happened to his soul and mind is not beyond repair even now.

    And maybe, just maybe, the entire membership of the NRA is simply trying to do the right thing in a world that has broken neurochemistry as well as the presence of evil. Maybe their choice isn’t the choice you make, but that doesn’t mean those people deserve Hell. Even if they are mistaken, they aren’t trying to be evil, but trying to do the best they can in a very imperfect world.

    You may have buried a child, but have you gotten a note in the mail from a mentally ill person who promises to kill you and your children? The Police can’t do anything, really, except talk to the guy. Oh, they can draw the chalk lines if he decides in a twinkling of misfiring neurons to act on his threat. And the police can do something after the bodies are discovered. Wouldn’t you do anything, anything at all to protect your family and give yourself the best chance to prevail against a man larger, younger, and stronger than you? I guess not. Well, give yourself over to anger. I’m sure you know all that needs to be known to condemn others to Hell.

  3. Tony

    Nicki,
    I suspect that just as there people falsely living under the assumption that heaven’s gates will be open to them, there are others who wrongly assume heaven has no place for them.

  4. Tony

    John,

    I’ve found it’s helpful to read something closely before I spend a lot of words critiquing it. That cuts down on the likelihood, just for example, of assuming that a writer is supporting a point of view that he is in fact attacking.

  5. Ken Larson

    “The world has come undone, and you and I know it.” The world has been “undone” ever since the first sin in the Garden of Eden and it has gone downhill since then. Politicians, pundits, teachers and the like cannot make it better. Only Our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ working in and through His church can make it better. That may be a tall order for today’s church, but that’s what it seems to me. Thanks for your heartfelt words, Tony!

  6. John

    “May the boy with the guns roast in eternal agony. May the entire membership of the NRA follow close behind.”

    I dunno, seems pretty clear to me. But I’m always willing to learn.

    If the objection is to the last paragraph I wrote, yes, it was speculation on my part, and if you read not even that closely, you will see so. Well, except for the last two sentences.

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  8. Nicki

    Mr Woodlief, you seem to have a pocket full of stones you’re ready to throw. Though you have doomed me to Hell, I’m certain you’re mistaken. There are many who would take your words as a reason to shun Christianity. Letting your loss ruin you is yours to deal with. Being a stumbling block to others is another thing altogether.

    I do not want to argue, nor do I think it’s necessary for you to publish this comment. It is for your consideration, not to cause dissension. The beauty of freedom is that you are entirely within your rights to air your thoughts. You have a gift for words, and a heavy burden. I pray that you don’t let it eat your soul.

    May God have mercy on us all.

  9. Tony

    Goodness, did everyone take the second paragraph to be a statement of my own sentiments? I thought the first sentence of that paragraph made clear that I’m describing the emotions we feel when we don’t weep long enough, i.e., when we don’t do what I suggested in the first paragraph that we ought to be doing — we give ourselves over to anger.

    Thus do we direct our anger at the killer, but of course that’s never enough, and so the anger spreads ever outwards, because — and again, I would think this phrasing would make clear that the second paragraph is not a statement of my sentiments — “there’s always room [in hell] when we are the gatekeepers.”

    I mean, it’s not a direct manifesto, I’ll grant you, but surely it’s not so subtle as to need a reader’s guide?

  10. Nicki

    Too subtle for me, apparently. Sarcasm is my first language, and I missed it. My bad.

    Sincere apologies.

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  12. Alex S

    “There’s still room in hell—there’s always room when we are the gatekeepers—so stuff in behind these the political opportunists, the blow-dried journalists interviewing traumatized children, the father of the boy with the guns, his brother for good measure, the man who sold the guns, and whoever designed the school locks. Burn them all, burn them all.”

    Ah, Christian mercy.

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  14. Kirsten

    “Goodness, did everyone take the second paragraph to be a statement of my own sentiments?”

    As a libertoid 2nd Amendment sister (though not a gun-owner myself) I thought that very thought, until I got to the bit about the size of hell and kept reading. Then I figured that you meant to be saying something about human anger generated by false assumptions about the nature of reality (entropic, plagued by sin, death, and the power of the devil, not potentially utopian).

    Still and all, I did wonder, since if one’s emotions are rightly ordered there’s a place for righteous anger.

  15. Krupa

    The way you write is very impressive. Up to now, I still shed a few silent tears whenever I read about what happened. There is hatred but sorrow still over what had happened and during the holidays too.

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