I'm one of those bloggers who tends to meticulously pore over my drafts before hitting the green "Publish" button - much the same way I do with my sermons. Wanting to make sure every sentence, phrase, words is in its proper place.
But not this time. I'm just going to type it and post. Because sometimes, you won't be able to find the perfect set of words no matter how much refining you do.
I've been a parent for over ten years now, and I've never been so frightened. Tuning in to the news networks throughout the day has been like uncovering a wound that you didn't think was as bad at first, only to slowly learn how deep it goes. As of this post: 30 people dead at the elementary school in Connecticut; roughly 20 of which are children between the ages of 5 and 10.
The shooter has a name. There's a back story developing; something about how his mother was a teacher there and how she was killed, along with a number of her kintergarden students. No doubt we'll learn more about him and that back story; no doubt we'll see his face plastered on our television screens and newspapers and websites many more times than we care to - as we do every time this happens and it sure seems to be happening a whole lot more often these days.
I'm scared to death. Not about guns or the warped people who use them to act out, but scared about all the things I can't control when it comes to my life and the life of my family. Every day I kiss my wife as she heads out the door to work - at, of all places, an elementary school. Every day I drop my boys off at their respective schools and hardly give it a thought. As I said in a Facebook post earlier today, this sure is one of those "hug-your-kids-a-little-tighter" kinda days today. Or, as someone commented, "a lot tighter."
And with Christmas approaching, of all things! Where is the peace and hope we're supposed to seek? Where is the promise fulfilled, the Good News?? To which I remind myself that Jesus was not born into a world of peace and hope, but came to make that possible. The circumstances around his birth were anything but peaceful, hopeful. Roman rule and oppression. A young unmarried mother. Traveling way out of town. No room at the inn. It was chaotic, crazy, out of control. Like today.
Come, Immanuel, Come. Never have those words meant more to me than now. I just want Jesus to get here, and get here quick. To bring that peace and hope we obviously are in such desperate need of. To give us some good news for a change.
In the meantime, we'll pray for all the families in Connecticut tonight who are having to face the unthinkable. We'll pray for teachers and schools across the country. We'll pray for all of us. We'll just pray.