It happened again. Tragedy struck and families are torn apart when they should be coming together.
Funerals replace parties. And weeping drowns out laughter.
Two police officers in New York City were murdered as they sat in their car by a gunman who drove up from Baltimore after killing his former girlfriend.
While it seems so wrong to be so painfully reminded of the fallen nature of our world during this particular season, it is an all too frequent occurrence.
Only two years ago, as school was winding down before the Christmas break at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, 20 children and 6 adults were gunned down.
We often think of moments like the 1914 Christmas truce in World War I, where troops from opposing sides gathered between their encampments and sang Silent Night together.
But more often than not, violence does not take a break for the holidays. Death still lingers in the midst of Christmas cheer. A violent night seems much more likely than a silent one.
Even as we read the Christmas story, we are reminded of evil and those who have little value for life. Herod, concerned only with his political power, slaughters all the infant boys in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16-18).
Things have not changed. People still value power and personal gain more than the lives of others.
Violence regularly erupts even as we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace. Yet, this unfortunate reality is to be expected.
Christmas is the invasion of the rightful Ruler into a world that has been enslaved by a false king.
The birth of a gentle, helpless baby in an insignificant town in the Middle East almost 2,000 years ago is an open declaration of war. God is announcing His claim to this earth in opposition to Satan.
In response, Satan regularly unleashes violence, pain and death. This is the last throes of a defeated regime.
Unfortunately, he continues lashing out at those who bear the image of God. All humanity suffers under the final gasps of a power that has been overthrown.
The day is coming, however, when the hope unleashed on that first Christmas will be fully realized and the true King will usher in the days of peace.
We celebrate the birth of our Savior, not because we believe all things are right, but because we know all things will be right.
And we work toward that end, knowing that God will complete the work, but He has left us here as part of His kingdom He has ushered in.
One day God will wipe away every tear from our eyes, but that day is not yet. Until that time, we mourn with those who mourn — even and especially those who mourn this time of year.