“Perhaps they are not stars but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones shines through.” Author Unknown
Friday nights are when I usually begin my weekly blog post. But I sit here tonight numbed by the perpetration of unspeakable evil. No caring human being can escape empathetic shock at the death of children. Our hearts all break for the people of Newtown and those who lost their children or their loved ones at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
And while there could be no time when this act would be anything less than the worst thing imaginable, somehow that this occurred during the Christmas season makes it even more horrific. The presents under the tree that will go unopened seem symbolic of all the losses that will be faced, the birthdays that will never come, the graduations that will not happen, the weddings that won’t be celebrated, the children who will not be born to these lost children. Certainly as we get ready to sing of silent nights and of angels and alleluias for the birth of a Child, it feels like tears should be falling from heaven.
In We Are the Lord’s, Allen Puffenberger says, “It is hard to accept the death of a loved one at anytime. It is especially difficult at Christmas. This is a family time. What is being celebrated now started with Joseph, Mary and Jesus, and has been continued by countless mothers and fathers and their children. No other holiday is so centered in the home as this one. All the festivities – sending cards, decorating the tree, exchanging gifts, singing carols, going to church, and gathering around the table – take on luster, because we join in them at home, with loved ones. How sad it is to be separated from family now. Who here is not stirred by the sentiment of the song, “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams”?
This holiday is achingly heartrending when we lose someone we love. But perhaps the grace of the Christ Child is what is desperately needed now…and the understanding of the God who is a Father to Him…and to us, the Father who sent Him into the world knowing he would die so we would live.
One of my most favorite Christmas carols is not one of the joyful hymns, but one that is more poignant: “What Child is this who laid to rest, On Mary’s lap is sleeping…Nail, spear, shall pierce him through, The cross be borne for me, for you,….Come have no fear, God’s son is near, His love all loves exceeding.”
I hope and pray all the grieving are surrounded by grace and caring. In the midst of their sorrow and suffering, may they catch glimpses of the star that always leads the wise to the place where love lies hidden. The babe is there waiting to comfort and sustain.