It has hit me hard.
And I know it has you, too.
In light of all the tragedy that surrounds the nation, it is difficult to know what to say. I admit, it is even sometimes difficult to even know how to feel. It all seems so confusing and overwhelming and we wonder why these senseless acts taken out on those who are most vulnerable again, and again, and again?
Please, I really don’t want to hear answers that it happened because of the depravity of humanity and it will be this way (and get worse and worse) until Jesus comes, so just throw your hands up and hunker down. Or because God chose that their time was up and He called them home. And I really don’t want to get political about it.
I just want to grieve and mourn for the loss of what is. What should not have been.
And I know with my whole being, that God mourns too.
And yet even in the midst of this horrific tragedy of Newtown, where the children and adults who used their last breath to try to shield and protect, are known and named, I also think it is important for us to pause and remember all those children around the world who die unnamed deaths each and every day. I say this not to belittle nor take away from the horrible unjustice and profound sadness of this stateside event, but because all innocent little ones deserve to be grieved and mourned.
Where do we go from here? How do we even go about picking up the pieces? When fragments are scattered so far and wide, it sometimes seems so much easier to just keep my feet planted firm because I hardly even know where to step.
But here in the mess, in this mess, and in the mess that fills my own life on a much smaller scale, I am reminded that we stand in the season of Advent.
The time of waiting, of groaning, of darkness.
We wait for the Light to pierce the night.
We wait for Emmanuel.
And it is here that I am reminded that Emmanuel means, “God with us.”
God choose to come to us, born as a vulnerable child,
into this world full of chaotic messes to show us how to live and love.
And so when I wonder where God is, in the midst of the darkness, in the midst of the confusion, in the midst of the senselessness,
I look around.
And I see it in your eyes.
In your warm embrace.
In your acts of kindness and charity.
In your tirelessness in working for peace and justice.
This is Emmaunel, in the flesh today.
And at this cross section of living and loving,
the Spirit of Christ is born,
illuminating the dark shadows that claw to seize.
So I ask myself again, what can I do?
How am I called to respond to not only the senseless violence that strikes this world,
but also to the debilitating disease that robs life from my friends,
and the anger and resentment that builds up inside my heart,
and the cynicism and complacency that lures me to turn a blind eye?
What can I do to transform any of this?
I think that the only way to counter-balance these things, where evil seems to overcome, is to embody Love.
To share love.
To spread love.
To be love.
It is to look at these senseless tragedies square in the face and to breathe out love, because it is not our fight.
Love has overcome the world.
Rather than allow my spirit and soul to be swallowed by the pit of despair, cynicism, and grief, I stubbornly still
and share love and work for peace in my own heart, in my own home, in my own relationships, in my own community,
as a small way to overcome this evil.
For Love never fails.
Yes, each of us taste darkness, in our own way.
But what I’ve learned in the midst of my own and continue to learn is that making my way through the night is only possible because of those who hold the Light for me.
When I feel unable to do it for myself.
The Light shines.
The darkness has not overcome.
Even when I struggle to see.
The Light is still there.
So now, I step forward and cling hard to the Light of Love.
May this Light shine, piercing the darkness, so that even if a sliver of light is seen and felt, may it be enough so hope is not lost.
And that will be enough.