Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Light a Candle: Remembering Sandy Hook

I don’t know about everyone else, but I cannot seem to move past the events of last Friday. I have heard the stark, cold facts over and over: crazed gunman. Murdered mother. Twenty-six dead children and teachers. It doesn’t make sense. In all my conversations, that’s the line that keeps being repeated over and over. When the names of the slain were released, I had to force myself to read it. When photos of the deceased were published, same thing. I knew I needed to look. I knew I owed it to those precious souls to look at their faces, to read their names, and to internalize the fact that each photo and name represents someone who isn’t coming home.

My heart has been most broken for the siblings. For the little girl who lost her twin brother. For the younger brothers and sisters who lost their role model and best friend. I think about my two little brothers (though the word “little” at this point is slightly misleading) and how I would have wanted to protect them from something like this. How guilty I would feel if I survived and they did not. How shattered my life would be if something like this happened to one of them.

I have cried for these families over and over since Saturday. Every funeral, every photo, every tribute to those lost makes me ache inside. What can I do? I keep tossing that question at the heavens. On Friday I left my outside light on throughout the night. It felt, at least a little, like fighting the darkness threatening to overtake us all.

John 1.4-5 says, “In him [Jesus] was life, and the life was the Light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”

In John 12.46 Jesus says of himself, “I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.”

I John 1.5 says, “God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.”

Psalm 139.11-12 says, “If I say, ‘surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will become darkness,’ even the darkness will not be dark to You, the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You.”

How cruel that in this advent season of waiting for the Christ child to arrive on Earth from heaven, we are mourning twenty precious children who have departed for heaven and left us broken-hearted here on Earth.

There are no easy answers. Quite honestly I don’t think anyone is interested in easy answers right now. We just want to ease the aching of our bleeding hearts and find comfort in whatever way we can.

One of my favorite Christmas songs has a line that says, “Light a candle, light the dark/light the world, light a heart or two/light a candle for me, I’ll light a candle for you.”

As for me, I’ll be gathering up 27 candles and lighting one for each soul lost. I’ll be grateful that I had teachers who would’ve made that same sacrifice. I’ll hug my brothers a little tighter whether they like it or not. And I’ll seek out the comfort and deep peace of Jesus Christ, Light of the world, the One who was in every classroom and with every child and adult at Sandy Hook Elementary last Friday.

The God of the universe can handle your questions and your heartache. I encourage you to seek Him out.


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