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What can you say in the wake of the horrors of Newtown, Connecticut? It is unthinkable, and breaks the heart to the core.

So many ripped from this world all to soon: Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeleine, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Avielle, Benjamin, Allison.

We believe in God’s promise. We are a people of hope, of peace and of compassion. Sometimes that is difficult in a world that is so clearly broken. It is a world that reminds how broken our own hearts often are.

We are a people who wait in the dark, because we know that light is not far off. For us, sadness shall not turn to despair. Hope sits on the horizon as the dawn comes.

It is easy to forget in this Christmas season that Jesus was born in a world of horror and slaughter, even the massacre of the first-born children. The Christ child would escape that terror to be born in poverty in a tomb. And though we sing of his peaceful lack of crying, too many parents know the fear that surrounds a child who does not cry as he greets the world – the fear of a stillborn child.

In this season of celebration, let us remember that, as we eat our feasts and sing our carols of “peace on Earth and good will toward men,” that we are a part of bringing that peace to this world. Jesus came to care for all of the lost and outcast, the children and mentally ill. Our society does not – our society cares about guns, money, power and fame.

How dare we say that this horror happened because we have removed prayer from our schools or the Ten Commandments from our courthouses, implying that God is no longer in those places. I tell you with all certainty that God was in that school in Newtown on that day, with every terrified child, and with every grieving parent. God cannot be removed – not even by death.

As we sing our songs this Christmas season, as we prepare the way of the Lord through this Advent, let us remember that it is our hearts and our world that need Christ’s love, transformation and peace. Light breaks forth from the shadows – and even death is transformed to life in God’s grace. In God’s grace, peace and healing can be born even from the depths of brokenness.

Change this world. Change us.

Each of you is in my thoughts. May you find peace and comfort in prayer and each other. May Christ hold all of us in His loving arms, especially those who cannot hold their loved ones anymore.

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