Twenty children dead. Seven adults.
The children were mostly kindergartners and first graders. So very young! It is incomprehensible.
I feel sort of stunned. Wounded, as though I'll never be completely "okay" again. I spent most of Friday morning sitting in front of my television, tears running down my cheeks. My older boys, big enough to understand a little of what had happened, wrapped their arms around me. I was only able to accomplish the most basic tasks in the hours following that moment. I fed my children. I baked a birthday cake - because my son was counting on it. In the afternoon I agreed to play a board game with my 7-year-old. Yet even as we played, my mind was in Connecticut, my heart aching dully in my chest.
Horrifying. Incomprehensible. Surreal. And absolutely heartbreaking.
I can find no words appropriate for this time of grieving as a nation. We are in mourning. Mourning for innocence lost, senseless tragedy, and the agony of those left behind.
Just a few days previous, three people died in a shooting at a shopping mall near us here in Oregon. Thousands were there...buying Christmas gifts, children excited to sit on Santa's lap. This is the mall where we found Benjamin's "Baby's 1st Christmas," and later Kyle's. This is the place where the kids chose a gift from Build-A-Bear for their soon-to-be-born siblings. Here is where we held Kyle's 5th birthday party.
So you see, both of these tragedies hit awfully close to home for my family.
Yet through this time of darkness, I still believe in the Babe who came. Jesus, Emmanuel, God With Us. He came into this world for such a time as this - and all the other sin in this sin-drenched world. He came to comfort, to redeem, and to restore. I believe, I have to believe, that in the end all will be made right.
I'll leave you with this prayer by author Max Lucado.
It’s a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately.
These killings, Lord. These children, Lord. Innocence violated. Raw evil demonstrated.
The whole world seems on edge. Trigger-happy. Ticked off. We hear threats of chemical weapons and nuclear bombs. Are we one button-push away from annihilation?
Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas. But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod’s jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty. Dark with violence.
Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene.
Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won’t you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.
This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.
Hopefully,Your Children (source)
Yes, Lord. Be born anew in us - in me - this Christmas and always.