Yesterday, I read through the names of the children and the teachers that died, and thought to myself - that's too many. Too many lost their lives. I heard the President speak to the community of Newtown on TV last night and as he read off each individual name, again I thought - enough. Was it really that many? And the photos. Sometimes I forget how little six and seven-year-olds are. Such innocence. I'm grieving along with these families and this community. I'm praying fervently for healing and wholeness.
Today I mourn with those who mourn. I pray for healing and wholeness for those who have lost so much, so unexpectedly.
Last night, our church had its annual Lessons and Carols service, and it felt especially pertinent to sing songs that speak of longing for a Savior. Longing for this world to be made right. We all know, regardless of our belief system, that we live in a broken world that needs fixing. We need Hope to get through times like these. Each year, the season of Advent reminds us of this, and after Friday's events, I have an even deeper longing for things to be made right.
In this midst of this tragedy, there is one place that provides this Hope we long for - Jesus. When we sing hymns like "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus" and "O Come O Come Emmanuel" during Advent, we sing knowing that that has already happened. Jesus came. Emmanuel means God with us. Because he came, walked on this earth, and was human in every way, he can identify with us in the midst of tragedies like these. He suffered extraordinarily and died on a cross. Yet, because he was also fully God, his death was not just for the sake of suffering; his death was for our sake. He died so that we could have access to God - access to Hope. Hope for healing in the midst of tragedies like the one that occurred in Newtown. I know that it can be extremely difficult to think about Hope and healing in the midst of heavy, heavy grief, but my prayer is that those who are suffering would see that God meets them where they are, that he understands their grief, and that he does not leave them to deal with it alone. That may be hard to see right now, and everyone grieves differently, but I hope that these thoughts will bring comfort.
"He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
Come, Lord Jesus.