As my five year old turns six just one day before the one year anniversary of Sandy Hook on December 14th, I am struck again by the pain these families are enduring. I cannot even fathom their broken hearts. As our country is mourning the man who has done great things for our world, Nelson Mandela, in a beautiful little enclave in Connecticut, there is also mourning. An aching for those who did great things in protecting those in their care, and grieving for those whose lives were cut short on this earth. I hope my reflections from last year, will be used to give you eyes to see his deep love in sending His only son into this broken mess of a world to give us true freedom, that he is the only Hope we have in the wake of such terror.
Here is my tribute from last Advent …
Sandy Hook and the Meaning of Christmas
Like all of us...there are no words...These times of inexplicable grief during a period that should be happy and joyful.
Last night after our church's beautiful Christmas program, and three joyous parties hosted at our home over the weekend ticked off the list, I was able to think, pray, read, weep.
One of the gems that caught my eye was this article, "Dark Day" by Jamie Dean from World Magazine. The author says,
"But Christmas will still come, and its message will be especially for those who grieve. Indeed, its message will come from a suffering servant, a man of sorrows, and one who is acquainted with grief. It will come from one who invites those sitting in darkness to feel their sorrow," and yet hope in His promises of what Christmas really means.
I listened anew to my favorite Christmas carols and then I heard the pain:
Pain of Moms and Dads who lost their precious Children
Pain of Children who lost their Mommies
Pain of Husbands who lost their Wives and are now Half of "One flesh"
Pain of the Neighbors, Family, Friends & Community
Pain for the Ones who survive and may think, "Why me?"
Pain for those struggling with children who have mental illness
And yet, coupled with pain is
Hope not in our safety plan (which is wise)
nor in homeschooling (which I do)
nor in adding more laws
He is Sovereign and Good and Holy
He experienced the Death of His own Son
Death and Sin were conquered on the cross
In Jesus, we will live forever in His presence
where there is no more pain, sorrow or grief.
He will wipe every tear.
The double edge of Christmas:
Pain and Healing
Grief and Comfort
The warm, cozy hymns sounded differently,
Sorrow and Trust
The warm, cozy hymns sounded differently,
struck a chord deep in my heart,
a new depth of meaning.
Below is a small picture of those carols.
As I looked again at these hymns, I understood the reality of pain and grief was always present in these carols.
I didn't have ears to hear.
Yet, the joyous strains of glad tidings found there coupled with the reality of our sinful world fills my heart with joy.
Hymns from Top Left (moving Clockwise):
Hark the Herald Angels Sing Acappella version
Grace and Peace to you,
Mom to JADE (and hugging each one tighter)
Please visit the Sandy Hook Family website in remembrance of those who lost their lives. Feel free to print out the picture above if it is helpful to you.
It is my gift to anyone who could be blessed by it.
You may fully share this picture but please keep the link where it is attributed. Please do not distribute it or sell it. It belongs to www.jadeintheparke.com If you are interested in a print with no watermarks, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with more details of your request.
Lita Parke has been married to her husband, Justin, for almost twenty years. They have four kids who range in age from 17 to 6 and the initials of their first names spell out the curious little name of her blog, www.JADEintheparke.com. She was born and raised in America by her Indian parents who immigrated to the US in the 1960s. She is a study in contrasts: A theatrical, outgoing child of a physicist/computer scientist mother and an engineer/real estate dad. An only child having four. Homeschooling during the week and then teaching cardio kickboxing on the weekend. Grew up not attending church, and now embraces the truth of reformed theology. Loves Jesus, yet needy, broken, and grumpy for His grace, each and every day.
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