Like millions of others across the nation, I was sickened and horrified to hear about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut this last Friday.
The loss of life was so tragic and for it to be innocent children and teachers who were seeking to protect their precious charges only makes it worse. Of all places, elementary school should be a place where you don’t have to stress that your children won’t come home when you send them each day. And now that safety has been violated … for children and their parents.
I’ve been inspired to hear stories of teachers finding ways to protect their children, some losing their own lives in the process. My heart truly goes out to all those affected by this tragedy, children, parents, families of the victims. It’s Christmas and should be a time we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, not have our hearts broken with news of a senseless tragedy and families now in mourning.
The situation is brought home for me in that I have not only many dear friends but numerous family members who are teachers. My own mother is a kindergarten teacher … so her classroom could’ve been one affected. And while my dad is now retired, he is a popular substitute teacher, so he could’ve been affected too.
While I’ve watched news and stories of this tragedy unfold, my heart has felt heavy with the darkness and evil in our world today.
Until a friend shared a beautiful thought on Facebook, one I passed along to my roommate earlier today.
She shared the third and fourth verses of the hymn “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” The words are as follows.
“And in despair I bowed my head:
’There is no peace on earth,’ I said,
’For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.’
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
’God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.’”
Yes, bad things happen every day and will continue to happen because we live in a fallen world. But God will not leave us comfortless. He’ll be with us, all of us no matter who we are. And it never ceases to amaze me as I watch tragedies unfold how the goodness of people comes through and the strength of the human spirit. We are far stronger than we think we are, and we can find light in the midst of darkness.
I wish light and comfort for all the families affected by this tragedy for the hours, days and weeks to come. I hope they can feel the prayers and love of so many and more than that the love of God.