With twenty little children and six adults freshly slain, how can we celebrate Christmas? Many in the grieving community of Newtown, Connecticut, in a show of solidarity with shattered friends are removing Christmas from their homes. News anchors seem desperate to make sense of the tragedy. Mourners flocked to an interfaith service. Millions tuned in to hear President Obama for words of comfort and clarity.
Americans heard prayers from Catholic priests and Jewish Rabbis, readings from the Koran, a Baha’i poem and passages from the Bible. They heard statistics on gun violence, mental health and school safety. But when one is grappling with overwhelming grief, one needs powerful truth.
If ever there were a time when the unique message of Christmas was needed more, we are hard pressed to find it. Christmas is the celebration of life over death. That God loved us so much, he gave the only son he ever had to die a brutal death so that we might find forgiveness for our sins and lose our fear of death. That baby in a manger was the very real and precious son of a God who knew when he sent him, it would one day break his Holy heart. The parents of the children who died in Newtown now understand God’s grief, but they did not willingly choose it.