I’m a “quoter.” I love quotations. And for the past three and a half months, I’ve had a quotation on the board every single day. The quotes are usually inspirational, often from the Bible or a holy person. Occasionally, they are humorous.
I have planned for months that the quote for next week would be “Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, o Israel” in reference to the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday.
And then, today, we all learned of the shooting in Connecticut. When I saw President Obama’s statement today, I felt that he had put my feelings on the subject into words perfectly. Our hearts are breaking. I wept on my way home today thinking of twenty little children whose lives were ended far too soon, twenty children whose families will not get to spend the holidays with their darlings but will instead spend the holidays mourning lives that were ended far too soon.
I wanted to go and grab the three little boys I teach in Catechism (and their siblings) and hug them. And I may well yet do that on Sunday.
Our faculty and staff were made aware of this situation around lunchtime. In the afternoon, one of my sophomore boys came up to me and said, “Miss H, I don’t feel safe anymore. If they can kill five year olds in school, where are we safe anymore?”
I didn’t have an answer for him. All I wanted to do was hug this kid who is probably six inches taller than me and close to a hundred pounds heavier than I am…because I all too well how he feels.
And at the end of the day, I erased this week’s quote. And I looked at the board. Was it right to write the word “Rejoice” on the board? Something inside of me told me to do it. And as I wrote those words on the board, something came to me. Emmanuel shall come to Israel. The people who walked in darkness shall see a great light. This is a dark day, but as Corrie Ten Boom once said, “No matter how deep our darkness, He is deeper still.”
Next week is Gaudete week. God is deeper than any darkness we can fathom. That’s the point of Advent and Christmas. God became man. In a dark and lonely world, God became man. And while we must mourn for those 27 innocent lives that were lost today, we can also find hope in Christ. We can rejoice in the hope that these innocents are now in the arms of Christ.
We can cry. We can be sad. But as Christians, we can have hope that God will bring good out of this situation. After all, as Christ himself told us, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)