Saturday, December 22, 2012

O Come O Come

It is the Saturday before Christmas, and I am cozy at home, with my family tucked in to their beds (I got a nap today, thank you, hubby.) I'm slowly making my way through a stack of Christmas cards. My son's class guinea pig is hanging out - a little friend staying with us over Christmas break. I'm watching CMA Country Christmas - and I am struck by how very blessed and lucky I am.

"So lay aside each earthly thing, and with thy heart as offering
Come worship now the infant King, tis love that's born tonight."

That's what The Band Perry just sang.

I feel like a little piece of my heart that normally is lifted up with love during Christmas is still broken, and grieving the losses in Connecticut last week. My two children, 7 and 4, make the losses so very real.

This post made me weep - it captured my particular feelings so well.

Every time my children reveled in where their Elf on the Shelf was when they woke up in the morning, every time we opened a Christmas card in the mail from a friend and saw their smiling faces in a family picture, every time I think about the little feet that will race to my bedside Christmas morning and shout that Santa came, I feel the tears come back.

Someone asked me this week my thoughts on why this particular shooting feels so different than other tragedies, I thought about it, and I said it felt like somehow this managed to hit "us" at a place we felt so protected, so off-limits, that there's just nowhere to file it.  A quiet, happy, peaceful town with hardworking, normal families whose children attended a great school, in the heart of the Christmas season.  It's unbearable to look at their sweet, beautiful faces.  Because, of course, I can only imagine a small part of the pain their families must bear.  And because, of course, I see my own babes' faces, and then the part of their pain that I can imagine is so deeply, dark and all-consuming, I cannot bear it.  And yet, they must.  And then I cry for them again.

They have buried their loved ones.  But the holes in their lives will continue to catch them off-guard.  It's always the unexpected things that tap you on the shoulder, and whisper, "they're still gone." What about the day they have to take that child's booster seat out of their car?  What about next Christmas when they're hanging the stockings?  What about the next time they have to sign a greeting card from their family.  Will they include the name of the person they lost?

I want to stomp my feet and shout that it's not fair.  I want to do something to make sure that those families who I do not know, know that our hearts are breaking for them, with them.  I want to bow my head, and say thank you for all I have been given.  I want this Christmas to bring with it a new gift of shared concern - that this year something will shift a little bit more in all of us, and that we'll be able to find a way to reach out to those around us and care about them just a little bit more.

O Come O Come, Emmanuel.  And ransom captive Isreal.
That mourns in lonely exile here.  Until the son of God appear.

May all the new angels in heaven comfort those left here on Earth.  Heaven knows they need it.