In the light of the tragic events in Newtown Connecticut I find my thoughts have moved to other aspects of Christmas. The real aspects of Christmas.
Like all of you I was shocked at the news, shocked at the details as they came to light. Saddened to see the beautiful children. Heartbroken for the families of the little boys and girls. My thoughts turned to the 6 and 7-year-old children I know. Of those a little older and a little younger.
‘Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—’ Mosiah 18:9
I was saddened that there was no comfort sought for the Newtown families in any prayers yesterday at church. There was no mention at all. Not a word. We were encouraged to observe then serve as per the request of Sister Linda K. Burton at the October General Conference Session of Relief Society.
Surely, there is much to observe.
Finally, the Relief Society teacher asked if we, as a people are insulated?
We seem to be. Very. Too much.
No mention of the people of Samoa who have just come through Hurricane Evan. They have lost much and the temple is damaged again.
Now the Hurricane has hit Fiji.
No mention of the heart-broken young parents, grandparents families, friends or community of Newtown.
Yet, somehow we have to move on from the shock and horror. Some how this little town will hold 26 funerals during this, the week before Christmas. I cannot not grasp that.
The Christmas trees will still sparkle, the gifts will remain wrapped. The cheer will hang in the air. The families will remember other Christmas seasons.
One day at a time they, and we will move forward. We can do this.
These beautiful children and their inspirational teachers have been called Home to God.
We are left here. What can we do?
Perhaps we might watch over our children a little more, watch over all children. Not smother them. Just be a little more aware. A little more observant.
President Obama spoke at the Newtown Memorial Service. This is a Tweet from his address.
We can live in hope and faith. We can refuse to be broken by this and other such events. We can pray for comfort for these families. For our families.
Pray for courage for the national leaders who must address serious issues.
We can embrace what Christmas is about. Really about.
It’s about the birth of a baby called Jesus. A baby who would grow and change the world. A man who would show us a better way. That would give us hope. That through the giving of His Life would show us that our lives will be eternal.
And in that we can know that these children yet live. We will all live. Just not here. But not so far away.
Jesus said ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’
John 14:27 (Italics added)
Cry through your prayers, Light a candle, hold a hand, be brave and smile. Look to each other. Look to tomorrow.
May we take a moment, or more to think of these suffering people who are facing the challenge that is this Christmas.