It was a silent night. No angel choirs audibly promising peace on earth broke the calm of this night. No shepherds leaned on their staves in worship. No brilliant light illuminated the sky with visions of glory. Not this night. No. This night was one of silent lament over angry guns that preached a gospel full of hate. It was a night reeling in the hatred of Herod, of Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted.
Silent night. There were no arguments over vegetables, no reminders to brush teeth, no deals made over just one more bedtime story. There were no whispered giggles, no sung-out “I-love-yous,” no plans made for tomorrow. Candlelit vigils replaced bedtime prayers. No nightlight could shine brightly enough to erase the memory of the day.
I grieved last night while my baby fell asleep in my arms for the twenty mothers who faced empty beds. I grieved this morning while I fed him breakfast for the twenty vacant seats at the breakfast tables. So many “what-ifs.” So many questions. Can the sun really keep rising and setting in the face of such tragedy, not just in Connecticut but around the world? Can we keep preparing for Christmas, going to our parties, watching our movies, decorating our homes, enjoying our families as if nothing ever happened? Can these bones yet live again? Where is God?
Ah yes–that’s the question. It’s the cry of the cross echoed from shattered lips of parents, teachers, first-responders, friends. Where were You, God? Surely, You must have looked away for a moment to allow this to happen…
But then, if you listened carefully, you could hear it–the divine weeping that vibrates under every silent night as Creator mourns over what sin has done to His creation. Where is He? He is restraining Himself that we would have space to come to Him before it is too late. And His Spirit is here, curled around every orphaned child shivering beneath a single blanket, every childless mother clutching a once-favorite stuffed toy, offering peace, comfort, and love. He was in the courage of the custodian who ran down the halls, warning of the gunman’s presence. He was in the teacher who shielded her students at the cost of her own life. He who draws near to the brokenhearted is here. He is why we can still sing, “Joy to the World,” as tears mark our faces; He who has come will come again, and will not delay. He who once came sent us a Helper.
How do we pray for the community in Newtown, Connecticut–we who hugged our children close last night and kept watch beside their beds until they drifted into innocent sleep? We pray for marriages now under unimaginable strain. We pray for renewed minds in those who saw the war zone in Sandy Hook Elementary School. We pray for the God of all comfort to equip us to comfort those who are mourning (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). We pray for supernatural forgiveness in the hearts of victimized families toward the gunman’s family and friends. We pray that the God of peace will soon crush Satan beneath our feet (Romans 16:20). We pray that He will come to us again as Bridegroom, King, and Judge to make the wrong things right.
Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness;
He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. ~Psalm 112:4