Advent Day 14: Shooting at a school in Connecticut: How do we respond?
The horror of Friday’s shooting in a Connecticut school will be fresh in our minds for days and months to come. My heart breaks for the families who lost children, loved ones, and for the police, firefighters, and others who have come to the scene and will have to work through it. I started praying the moment I heard the news, and I haven’t stopped. And, along with that prayer is a question: How do we respond?
More precisely, how can we celebrate the holidays, now, with such a frightful, awful, violent event? Where is our hope, now, and our joy of the season when we know that there will be many parents in Connecticut who have wrapped presents at home and no child alive anymore to open them? Is lifting praise for God’s gift of His Son appropriate, now? Or, even possible?
What do we do with this Advent, now? This Christmas, this Hannukah? This upcoming New Year? The wounds in all of us are still so very raw. Even if we live far from the actual scene and know no one who was directly affected, the specter still haunts us. It feels too soon to pick up where festive holiday preparations left off earlier today, before the carnage.
But, it is not too soon, never too soon, to pray – for those in and around that Connecticut town, for people who are hurting deeply, for those whose minds are filled with rage and violence, and for ourselves, too.
This Advent time and the Christmas that follows remind us that God is never absent from us. His love brings comfort, even when we cannot be boisterously praiseful. And His healing is possible.
I’m going to pray even more, and turn to thoughts of comfort, peace, and the balm of salvation for all, far and near. And I’m going to appreciate loved ones all the more in the days to come.
It might be a more subdued Advent, a more reflective Christmas. But it will also be a time to reach out, extend God’s love, and truly, deeply appreciate the precious gifts of life, faith, and prayer that make it possible to live in and through this dark time.
Blessings – and -peace – for the day,