I stand in dismay and great sorrow with the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. I am at a loss for words, with only a whisper of "oh dear God." My mind jumped back almost 14 years ago when we lived a similar horror here in Taber, Alberta, Where a student walked into our local high school and started shooting. Three students were hit, one fatally; a student in our youth group and son of dear family friends. As I write, I am awash with memories and the emotions as if it happened yesterday. The horror, the surreal-ness, and the confusion. The overwhelming sense of loss, loss of a sense of security and any semblance of sense of control over life. I know some of the journey ahead for the families, friends - the entire community of Newtown. I know how weird it will be to see life carry on all around you, life just-as-before and yet, you are changed, your life has changed, and it will never be life as usual again. In time, yes, you will get used to living with the pain of loss, and you will begin to trust, to breath again, and tears of loss will eventually give way to tears of fond memories, but this can be a very dark road to walk indeed.
I do know, however, from my own experience, that in the midst of the darkness and pain there is a light that walks along that path with us. It is not some nice sentiment, a cliche' or even an attempt at piety; no this light is very real, a very real companion. This light is God in the person of Jesus the Christ. Jesus didn't promise a pain-free life, but He did promise He would never leave us or forsake us and while there is no shortcut through our pain and grief, I know we don't travel this stretch alone.
I don't know why this kind of evil happens. I don't know why a loving God lets it happen at all. I do know that evil is a mystery. It makes no sense and as such the best response, perhaps our only response from my perspective, is another mystery - the mystery of faith in a loving God who mourns alongside of us and who also has received those we have lost so tragically into His glorious, joyous, laughter filled, love saturated home.
As we prepare for the season of light - where we celebrate the Light of the World coming in Jesus, we trust that someday, in the fullness of time, the Light of the World will dispel all the long dark shadows cast by such painful events.