One week ago a horrible, unimaginable thing happened. Twenty children and six adults were murdered during their school day. I don't need to remind you of this, I know it is on people's hearts and minds. I couldn't find words. I joined Suzannah in praying these prayers, I read Sarah's lament and spoke it out loud, followed by many of my own, and I said yes over and over again while crying though Jennifer's words on reaching her limit (for now).
And a week later, here I am. Like many, I am here getting ready for celebrating with my loved ones. But I can't stop thinking about those people whose lives have been shattered these past few weeks. Not just in Newtown, but in hospitals, in back alleys and in shady hotel rooms. Not just in North America, but in war zones across the world and in refugee camps. In factories, in brothels, in mining operations.
What are they doing?
Tonight we will celebrate with friends by remembering Jesus coming down to earth as a baby. It's solstice, and for me, I cannot separate light from Jesus. He is where the hope is for me. I'll be thinking of all those families and praying for them, yes I will be. I will be praying for things that don't seem possible like healing and hope and forgiveness. But as a follower of Jesus, as a Christian, Jesus doesn't want me to stop there. When things like Newtown and war and child prostitution and poverty happen in our world, Jesus calls 'Follow me.' 'Help me.' 'Let's do this beautiful thing, let's spread my kingdom.' He's mourning more than we are, all this death and brokeness and abuse and he wants peace more than we do too.
So yes I will be baking cookies and playing lego with my kiddos and singing silent night at church. But I will also be examining my life, my family's life. We will be thinking alone and discussing all together. Looking for ways to follow Jesus in spreading God's kingdom of peace on earth. Looking for ways of growing in love, and peace, in joy and faith. I mean prayer and I mean writing out my heart for him, yes, those things are important. But I also mean practical, changing our lifestyle things and getting our lives entangled in the lives of others, trying to love better things.
This is one reason why I need Jesus. He shows me a better way. He shows me healing and grace and stepping beyond myself to love others. He brings good news for everyone. All people everywhere. And in ways I cannot comprehend, he invites us to join him in bringing this to others.
He is the light.