Here we are in the hiatus between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. I like this week ~ time to relax with that certain smugness that only a woman who’s ‘done’ Christmas for another year can enjoy. A time to take stock and reflect over the year gone and think about the year to come. I don’t do resolutions but I do like to consider what I’d do differently in the year ahead and what, if anything, I’d like to achieve.
Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, the Holy Innocents being all the baby boys murdered by order of Herod in his bid to kill the baby Jesus and be the One and Only King ~ no dilusions of grandeur there then. This piece of scripture has always horrified me and I find it difficult to think about the pain and suffering. There have been many equally horrific incidents over the millenia but my mind is drawn more recently to the shooting of the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. These are our modern day Holy Innocents….children killed without a thought or a care. Parents left traumatised, siblings left lonely, relations and friends left feeling sad and unable to ease the suffering of those they care for. When I think about that day, those twenty little lives, it all feels like such a meaningless act of violence, such a total waste of life. As the mother of a 7 year old boy I find it very difficult to think about it at all in too much detail if I’m honest.
As the news broke I wondered where God was in all of that?? Was He evident to anyone at all?? Initially it appeared not but then as the news items became more detailed it became obvious that amongst all that mindless carnage there were glimmers and sparkles of His Spirit. It shone through the teachers and staff who protected their little charges so bravely even at the cost of their own lives. Those first on the scene who must have had to dig very deep emotionally when searching the school. The prayers of all the community. The parents who supported each other with a hug or a loving word or deed. The complete list of God-led acts of kindness and bravery will never be known but the one thing I know beyond all doubt is that the list is long and distinguished and that even when all seemed Godforsaken, if you looked very closely you could see little chinks of His Spirit shining through the actions of others.
May all those affected by this tragedy feel the loving arms of God around them and may the souls of those lost rise up once again in the light of Our Dear Lord for all eternity…..