I don't normally address current events in this space. Tonight, however, it would be impossible to write about anything else.
I usually discuss life fairly openly with my children, but I have spent all day today going to great lengths to shield them. I want to bubble wrap their innocent hearts. When an attempt to start a Christmas movie tonight resulted in a flash of live news, I scrambled to turn off the television as quickly as possible.
K looked at me with her always-probing, curious eyes and asked, "Did something bad happen, Mommy?"
I gulped. How could I respond to this sweet little freckle faced brunette? I strive to be an honest and trustworthy parent, but, really, how can an eight year old make sense of something so senseless?
"Yes, something bad happened far away from here."
"What was it? What happened, Mommy?"
I stroked her hair, looked deeply into those brown eyes and said, "I love you, babe, but there are just some things that are a bit to scary to tell you. OK?"
With a wisdom and maturity that defies her age, she smiled weakly and said, "Ok."
As a mother, the few images I have allowed myself to see from Newtown have been horrifying.
As a human being, the response to violence against such innocent victims in a place as sacred and 'safe' as an elementary school is visceral.
As a believer, I am reminded that evil and sin are real, that life is but a vapor and that this world is not our home.
I grieve for the gifts under so many trees that will not be opened--and the gifts of each of those lives that this world will no longer be blessed to know. I ache for the empty arms of spouses and parents that didn't recognize final moments with those they loved. What of the siblings left to wrestle with grief, while watching their parents nurse broken hearts?
Much has been said and will continue to be debated about guns, mental illness, security measures and/or violence in the media. There are many opinions, but the fact remains that life changed today. The ripple effect of sadness from such a shocking loss of lives is difficult to quantify.
Hope and comfort came from the perspective Max Lucado offered today. Many have said, "...and right here at Christmas" and I am reminded that this is, in fact, the very need for Christmas.
There are many precious parts of this life, but this world is very broken. We pretty it up this time of year with tinsel, lights, and bows, but do not be decieved.
We need a Rescuer, a Comforter, a Prince of Peace. We need a Savior.
"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."
He came in the darkness, for the darkness.
Come, Lord Jesus, come.