“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
I stared at these words quoted in a tweet from NBC reporter, Ann Curry, a few days ago. I was still struggling to comprehend the horrific tragedy that had occurred at the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. That anyone would break into a school and shoot innocent 6 and 7-year-old children was beyond my understanding.
Like most Americans hearing the news, I wanted to hold my children and grandchildren close, thank God for their safety, and offer some type of comfort and consolation to the grieving families in Newtown. In her tweet, I could see that Ann Curry was suggesting a powerful way to overcome the evil represented in that act of terror, by responding with kindness. She called the proposal, “26 Acts of Kindness,” and stated, “Please consider performing 26 acts of kindness in memory of the Sandy Hook victims.”
Her suggestion immediately went viral and responses began to pour in, as hundreds of thousands of people worldwide chose to respond to the evil act with good. One person tweeted they were buying homeless people lodging and breakfast. Another person was leaving anonymous gift cards on cars in a parking lot. A Texas man bought coffee for everyone in the city of Newtown. A group of women in Atlanta were collecting teddy bears for all 400 children in the school. A young child reported buying school lunch for a friend who had no money. Someone else was putting money in expired parking meters.
On and on it went, people doing random acts of kindness for strangers and most of the time doing them anonymously. What a wonderful way to drive back darkness and hate, with the light and love of kindness and good acts! So simple and yet so powerful! Immediately I thought of Romans 12:21 which says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
I began thinking about the first Christmas and the hardships that Israel faced under Roman rule. Imagine for a moment being a conquered people, having your city occupied by foreign troops, and being commanded to participate in a census that you know is going to increase your taxes. Many of your rights have been taken from you, but you have no recourse. There are no laws to protect you.
Imagine how dark and despairing your life would be. Constant oppression with no way out. But Father God was not overwhelmed by the cruelty and evil represented in the Roman Empire. He possesses a love that overcomes all evil no matter how great. His response was to send His Son, Jesus, to become one of us, so He could show us the heart of the Father, and demonstrate the overcoming power of the Father’s love.
Christmas is a love gift from God to each one of us. He says to us in our times of personal discouragement, disappointment, pain and despair, “My love for you is more powerful than any evil or darkness you can ever face. My love for you is everlasting and I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) He promises us in Romans 8:37, “In everything we are more than overcomers through Christ who loved us and gave Himself for us.”
Say yes to God’s overcoming love this Christmas, and let Him show you how that love will drive out the darkness in your life, and in the lives of those you love.
Please join us for a special Christmas program, “The Promise of Christmas” this Sunday at 9:00 AM or 11:00 AM. We will continue to look at “Mary’s Faith, Part III” as we consider how to have a faith-filled Christmas. Merry Christmas to you and your families!