At this time of year, many of us feel stressed and overwhelmed. We worry about shopping, decorating, entertaining, and a host of other things. We worry about whether we have bought the right gifts, or enough gifts. We worry about traveling, the amount of money we are spending, and we stress about having to spend time with friends and family. Yesterday, we learned that all of those worries really don't matter at all. Yesterday morning, at approximately 9:30 a.m., a monster entered Sandy Hook Elementary School carrying two semi-automatic handguns. By the time his rampage was over, 26 innocent people, including 20 little children, had lost their lives.
Like me, I know that you were all horrified that something like this could have happened. I stayed glued to the television yesterday, watching the coverage of this national tragedy. I shed tears for the lost lives and for those left behind and my heart broke for those who lost loved ones. I also felt great pride in the teachers who kept many of their small charges safe during this nightmare. I wished that my children were home so that I could hug them and tell them how much I love and appreciate them. And while I can empathize with the loss that these people have suffered, I truly cannot comprehend the level of grief that they are dealing with right now.
Several times, I turned to prayer. I asked God to be with the families as they come to grips with the enormity of what has happened. I asked Him to bring peace to those who survived, and to bring peace to the families who have lost so much. I prayed for the innocents who are gone too soon from this world. And, I asked him to watch over all of us as we process something we cannot even imagine happening. In an interview, one of the priest in Newtown, CT said that he was asked by members of their community if they should turn off their Christmas lights as a show of respect to those who died, and he said that he told them absolutely not. He also stated that the Christmas sky was a little bit brighter, with 20 little bright lights in the heavens.
At a time like this, the problems that we are dealing with in our every day lives just don't seem nearly as important. We are reminded that we need to treat each other with kindness, and that we should love one another just a little bit more. We are reminded how precious our children are, and we all probably hugged them just a little tighter last night. We are reminded that the gifts we give at this time of year aren't nearly as important as the sentiment behind them. We are reminded that, as annoying as some of our friends and family may seem, we are blessed that they are still in our lives.
In the coming days, we will hear more about what happened during this tragedy. We will learn more about those who lost their lives on this day. We will try to understand why something like this could be allowed to happen. And eventually, we will go on with our lives. I hope that we are able to hold on to the joy of the holiday season, even in the face of such unspeakable horror. I pray that we are able to gives thanks for the blessings we have in our lives, and that we are able to let go of some of the stress of the holiday season and simply enjoy our families. And when you give thanks this Christmas, say an extra prayer for the families in Connecticut.