Update: Dec. 2013 — Another school shooting — this time in my home state of Colorado — and it’s Christmastime again —and another mother’s child is dead. Reminds me of just a year ago when I wrote this as a response to the awful Sandy Hook school shooting…
How can a mother be consoled when her little child is taken from her? Perhaps a mother in Sandy Hook, Connecticut hurried her son or daughter to school that morning a year ago, with a little scolding and a few reminders and a quick kiss on the cheek … only to be informed a few hours later that her child has fallen dead with her first-grade class, victims in a senseless, bloody massacre.
How can any of us wrap our minds around this? Since it is Christmas, we listen for words of comfort. We usually only hear the beautiful music, the softness of the Christmas story: angel wings, starlight, sweet-smelling hay, swaddling cloths, wooly sheep, gently falling snow, Mary cuddling the baby, cattle lowing, shepherds worshiping.
Usually in reading the Christmas story from the Gospels, we skip, gloss over, don’t talk to the kids about the part where Herod massacres all the children age two and under. Babies. Infants. Toddlers. Mothers’ children. Slaughtered. Blood running and pooling. Mothers wailing, unable to be consoled. (See Matthew 2:16-18.)
But the angels announce, “Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, good will to men,” spoken to a world where evil holds sway and often has its way … this world into which the Christ child was born. According to the prophet, his name is “Emmanuel” which means “God is with us.” The son of God, who is all goodness, light, life, love … broke into this kingdom oppressed by sin and evil. Why? To shine into the darkness. To reveal a better way that is lived by faith with hope. A kingdom of grace and love and children fully alive. A kingdom he will fully restore one day soon.
Then, when horrible deeds jar us into acknowledging the presence and power of evil in our midst, how do we respond? Even as we walk through the darkness, surrounded by those who react in fear, hate, blame, we can:
Allow the light of Jesus, the living Word, to shine his light of truth on our path, showing us where to step next.
Use the resources he has given us through his Holy Spirit, to resist and overcome evil (both inward and outward).
Let God use us to shine his light and dispel the darkness around us. We do this by prayers of faith, praise, speaking the truth of Christ, creating and sharing beauty, making music, showing love and compassion. Then, “The light shines in darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it” (John 1:5).
And when we hear the cries of tragically bereaved mothers who cannot be consoled, we cry with them, stand with them, hope for them.
We do all this because “God is with us.” Emmanuel.
~ Catherine Lawton
Gayle Irwin said:
Very lovely and moving post, Cathy. It has been quite sad but thankfully Christ is the Hope of the World!
Loretta Oakes said:
And we pray for those wailing mothers, because our hearts ache as well.
I cannot fathom the intense pain and grief that is surrounding the community of Newtown. I know I could not make it through such tragedy without the hope of Christ. I have to lean on Him daily just to deal with my own life situations. God is with us. Thank you for so eloquently voicing the aching of our mother’s hearts at this tragedy.
Reblogged this on Journeys To Mother Love and commented:
Another school shooting – this time in my home state of Colorado – and it’s Christmastime – and again there are mothers who cannot be consoled. Reminds me of just over a year ago …
What are we to do with all the pain, sorrow, and sin of these shootings? Last year, I wondered how we could go on with our Christmas celebration. The only answer came in celebrating the fact that death and sin have already been conquered by the Babe of Bethlehem, who entered our world to become the Atonement. Last year changed my focus. Our comfort is found in focusing on the significance of the manager and the cross.
I’m thankful with all my heart for the consolation and hope believers have in Christ! Matthew does say, though, that the mothers could not be consoled after Herod killed their children. A few weeks ago my friend lost her youngest child (in his 30s) to death. He was not a believer. In fact he took his own life. It was not easy to find – or give – consolation. Only God knows the final outcome of these things and we trust his goodness and judgment. But we can’t glibly say, “Someday, in the sweet bye and bye, you’ll see him again.” The only place of consolation is the knowledge that the Lord is with us and He walks with us through the hurt and loss and confusion and grief. But I do believe this mother when she says there will always be a hole in her heart.