While I am writing this column, I keep thinking of one of the most beloved, “Silent Night,” especially the words, “Sleep in heavenly peace.”
Now, in the midst of our celebration of the joy of Christmas, our peace has been shattered as we prepare for one of the most holy days of the Christian faith.
For many, the silence of the night is broken by the sound of weeping of those who are in excruciating pain. They have senselessly lost their children and others they love. While this occurred in Newton, Conn., the pain is felt around our country.
It makes us want to hold our family members close to us with the windows and doors bolted against all of the evil outside. In our anger, we want to blame someone or something.
There are many unanswered questions. Was the shooter mentally ill? Was the mother at fault for having guns in the house and allowing her son to use them? Did our laws allowing the ownership of guns contribute to this?
Do video games where our children cheer when they kill characters in those games attribute to insensitivity to taking the life of another? Is the violence in movies we allow our children to see a part of that?
Some blame those who “took God out of schools” resulting in prohibiting the posting of the Ten Commandants in classrooms, answering roll call with a Bible verse, teacher-led devotionals and prayers.
During the last few days of school before the Christmas holidays, there has been a heightened presence of law enforcement in our schools. That has been reassuring, but it does not give us what we want most.
We want to know that nothing like this will ever happen again — not on a street, not in a home, not in a school, not in a movie, not in a mall or anywhere else in our land.
There will be vigorous debating in Congress about tightened gun control. A heightened responsibility for parents to restrict violent video games, movies, etc. will be discussed on talk shows.
There will be reviews of school safety plans. Changes will be put in place that will increase our safety.
But you and I know that no changes will or can be made that will keep us all totally safe.
Another question some are asking is, “Where was God?”
With one exception, I believe God is everywhere. That exception is in the hearts of those who do not let him in.
The young man who took those innocent lives did not act with God in his heart.
When God created us, He gave us the freedom to make choices in our own lives. You may remember that the shortest verse in the Bible is, “Jesus wept.” In Newtown, Conn., I believe “Jesus wept” again because of the choices one of God’s creations had made.
I am not a Bible scholar and do not pretend to understand all it teaches. I do believe the Bible is the Divine Word of God and scripture is reflected in the words of a familiar hymn, “We Will Understand It Better By and By.”
The tragedy of Newtown is one of the many things I do not understand now but have faith that I “Will Understand it Better By and By.”
Those precious children in Newtown probably had all heard the well known Dr. Seuss tale, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
The morning after the wicked Grinch stole all of the Christmas toys, presents, ribbons and everything associated with Christmas from the people of Whoville, he was dumbfounded. The people were singing joyously as they celebrated Christmas without holiday decorations, gifts, trees or holiday food.
For as little Mary Lou Who and all the people in Whoville knew, “Christmas does not come from a store.”
As the Grinch began to understand the true meaning of Christmas, Dr. Seuss wrote that his heart grew three sizes that day.
There are those we might call Grinches in this world. They are those with evil in their hearts. They steal, kill and inflict pain, heartbreak, suffering and sorrow. But they cannot take away from us our celebration of the birth of the Son of God.
For while there may be tears in our eyes and lumps in our throats, Christmas will still be in our hearts.
Marguerite Cline is the former mayor of Waleska.