I said that only urgent news would make me interrupt my family holiday before the New Year, but I think it’s urgent that I ask you to please join me in praying for the victims of a string of attacks on Jews in the New York/New Jersey area over the past week, and of Sunday’s shooting at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas, west of Fort Worth. In Texas, two people are dead, including the shooter, and one injured. The latest anti-Semitic attack in the Northeast happened in Monsey, New York, when a man walked into the home of a rabbi and stabbed five people who were celebrating Hanukkah. This rising tide of anti-Semitic violence has many Jews voicing concerns that it is scarily reminiscent of the days before the Holocaust.
Fortunately, Texas recently passed a law allowing concealed carry permit owners to have their weapons in churches, so it did not turn into the kind of mass church shooting we’ve seen before. The service was being live-streamed on the Internet, and less than three seconds elapsed from the first shot to an armed guard stopping the shooter.
The video also showed several members of the congregation pulling out weapons and pointing them at the shooter, so if the guard hadn't been there, half a dozen "good guys with guns" were. Contrary to predictions, they didn’t start firing wildly and hitting bystanders. They acted responsibly and were prepared to stop the shooter, if need be. Who knows how many victims there might have been if they’d had to wait 15 minutes for the police to show up?
But I don’t want to politicize these attacks because there are too many people already cynically and self-serving doing that. I’ll talk about some of the responses after New Year’s Day. In the meantime, let’s concentrate on what’s really important and pray for those who were killed, for the swift and full recovery of the injured, for comfort for their loved ones, and for a miraculous cure to the sickness in the hearts of anyone who would defile a house of worship with violence or assault their fellow human beings just because of their religious faith.
By Mike Huckabee
The first school in which we enroll, and the most important in shaping our future, is our home. A casual view of modern TV shows might lead us to believe that parents don’t matter. I contend that nothing matters more.
When Benjamin West was a boy, his mother left him in charge of his younger sister, Sally. Benjamin found bottles of colored ink and painted Sally’s portrait. When his mother arrived home, she discovered spilled ink and ruined paper. But before she had the chance to scold Benjamin, she saw the picture. Then she planted an encouraging kiss on his cheek. He would grow up to become of the greatest painters of historic and religious artworks, a teacher of many other famous artists, and a major force in launching Britain’s Royal Academy of Arts, for which he served as president. Benjamin West would later say, “My mother’s kiss made me a painter.”
Every child’s life is like a book of blank pages waiting to be written on. Something is written each day. A parent who exposes a child of hours of television, video games, unsupervised time on the Internet, and an occasional trip to church is not likely to raise a child whose value system will mirror that of the parent. The child will probably reflect the value system of the entertainment industry.
While researching for a book I co-wrote on juvenile delinquency (“Kids Who Kill”), I became aware that children need parents who are informed, involved and (yes) invasive in their children’s lives. There is no single fact that will explain why a child as young as eleven would commit mass murder, but one thing seems certain: the likelihood of this taking place decreases drastically when children have a stable home, good role models and parents who are clearly more afraid for their children than afraid of their children.
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I wanted to make sure you also read these comments:
Nobody is more excited about Christmas Day than children, and sometimes, it inspires them to come out with some real gems. For instance, Mona from Kentucky wrote:
“When I was a child, we had a coal stove. One of those potbellied stoves. Of course with those stoves, there was a small pipe that went out the ceiling so the smoke would not get in the house. I remember wondering how Santa got down that skinny pipe. So one day I asked Mom how he got down that pipe. I guess I really put her on the spot because she replied, “He has a house key!” And that satisfied me.”
Thank you, Mona, and Merry Christmas to your mom, who I bet had to answer a lot of tough questions before you grew up!
Here’s another story of a Christmas miracle that started with the words of a child. Tom from Louisiana wrote that he used to volunteer for the park district in Calumet City, Illinois, in a low income area. One year, the man playing Santa was ill, so Tom filled in. It was a hard job, listening to the Christmas wishes of hundreds of children, knowing most of their parents were too poor to make them come true.
One day, a little 5-year-old girl, as beautiful as a china doll, hopped up in his lap and didn’t say a word. He asked her if she’d been good and obeyed her parents. She said yes. So he asked what she wanted for Christmas. She replied, “Nothing.”
Tom was dumbfounded. He asked if she was sure she didn’t want anything. She said not for herself. But could Santa give her daddy a job? He needed a job. Well, Tom didn’t know how to answer that. So he just said he’d try his best, but that was one wish Santa might not be able to fill.
But, Tom wrote:
“God works in great ways. At the time the young girl was sitting on my lap, (a local reporter) was there taking pictures and…overheard the child’s conversation with Santa. The next day, the paper (ran a photo) of the little girl sitting on Santa’s lap with the caption ‘All she wants for Christmas is a job for her daddy’…The next day, the little girl’s father received a call and was offered a job. A day or so later, the little girl came back to see me with my favorite chocolate chip cookies and a thank you for Santa…
Till this day, and it’s been at least twenty-five years, I still tear up thinking about that little girl and her unselfish wish. Christmas is truly about miracles.”
Thank you, Tom. I bet that little girl was the best gift her daddy ever received.
Bible Verse of the Day (KJV)
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
- 2 Timothy 3:16-17
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