I am in my nice home in the joyous presence of my wife. It is our thirty-fifth Christmas together as husband and wife. All is well.
We both anticipate with excitement the arrival of our three sons, three daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren. We rest with the assurance that our sixth grandchild is in heaven. All is well.
We will attend a Christmas Eve service at our church. We will sing carols, light candles, and greet one another with sincere joy. All is well.
But in Newtown, Connecticut, the townspeople recently concluded their saddest week in history. The news need not be repeated here. You know the stories about the 26 who were killed. You know about the 20 children who were massacred. You know the story. I am not here to repeat it. I am here to talk about Newtown on Christmas eve.
While I am comfortable, while I am at peace, while I wait for Christmas with excitement and anticipation, so many families in Newtown are in shock and devastating sorrow. Many gifts have been wrapped, but they will not be opened. Many plans have been made, but they will not be fulfilled. Many dreams and hopes have been articulated, but they will not be realized.
I Cannot Fathom . . .
I cannot fathom the grief you are experiencing Newtown. I don’t pretend to know your sorrow and pain. I cannot imagine the devastation caused by a lone and crazed gunman.
No, I cannot begin to pretend to know what you are going through. I feel deep sorrow just trying to imagine your own sorrow. But I cannot come close to feeling the depths of your pain.
These I Can Do
But on this Christmas eve, Newtown, there are some things I will do. I will pray for you. I will pray for God’s comfort for you. I will pray for God’s strength for you. And I will pray that God will give you the assurance that your little ones are with Him now. I’m not trying to sound cliché, but I do pray God will reveal to you somehow and someway that your children are in a much better place.
No, that will not remove the pain. In some ways, that pain will always be with you. But I pray the pain will not be one without hope, that you will understand His presence and His promise on a night such as this.
Silent Night, Holy Night
I will not forget you Newtown. Long after the news story is old, and long after the media has departed from your historic town, I will remember you.
This Christmas Eve is a silent night for you. I cannot imagine what it is like not to have those joyous and excited voices around. I cannot imagine the emptiness.
But it is my prayer that something else will happen for you on this day: I pray the night will also be a holy night. As we celebrate the anticipation of the birth of the One who was a child, I pray you will grasp His presence tonight. I pray you will know that Jesus, the One whose birth we celebrate, is taking care of your precious children on this holy night at this very moment.
May the silent night also be a holy night.
May we all be Newtown.
May we pray for our friends there with fervent prayers.
May we never, ever forget.
Silent night. Holy night.
Your children are truly in heavenly peace.