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I was planning a much different post today.

I was at the grocery store with Little Man this morning when I heard another shopper tell the person he was with that there had been another shooting, this time at an Elementary School.

It feels like nearly every day this month I’ve heard about some shooting. Some accidental, some not. But in all cases, tragic. This one today seems especially unthinkable. What kind of person opens fire in an elementary school?

Happening at this time of year seems to make it worse as well. At a time when most people in this country are making preparations for  what should be a joyous celebration, losing a child feels especially awful. And knowing that every year, Christmastime will bring painful memories.

This afternoon there are lyrics that keep running through my head, of Christmas songs. Like this verse from “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day,”

And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

I sit here, writing, weeping for those who have tragically lost their children today in the most senseless of acts. I know that I have never felt that pain, but the mere thought of it tears my heart out of my chest.

These are my rambling thoughts today.

Most of the posts on Twitter relating to this event today have related to tighter restrictions on gun control. While I don’t disagree that it should be harder for people to get ahold of guns, I’ll tell you that it won’t solve it. A lack of guns won’t bring peace. Tighter restrictions won’t fix whatever brokenness in people’s hearts allows them to kill 18 (as they’re currently reporting) elementary school children and 8 adults.

I know I don’t usually post on things philosophical or religious, so if you’d prefer not to hear it, feel free to stop reading here. The fact is that our world is broken. People are broken. Families are broken. And no amount of legislation will change that. We need something that will change people’s hearts.

We need Peace on Earth.

The other song that’s been going through my head is “Welcome to Our World” by Chris Rice.

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God…

Bring Your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled…

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born…

So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect Son of God

This is my prayer today, for all those whose hearts are broken. May you find Peace in Christ. May you remember why we celebrate this holiday; Emmanuel: God is with us.

Today I remember that life is fragile. So much more fragile than we know.

You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
even those who seem secure.
Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;
in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
without knowing whose it will finally be. (Psalm 39: 5-6)

All the stresses I’ve had about holiday preparations seem like nothing now. The gifts, the food, the logistics of the celebrations… none of that matters. This year, today, I’ll hug my loved ones tighter, to make sure they know how much I love and appreciate them. This year I’ll put aside my selfish wants for the needs of others; I’ll work not to be concerned with getting things perfect. Today I thank the Lord for what he gives and what he takes away.

Let’s not forget the next verse in “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

I know this seems trite perhaps for those of you who don’t believe, or for those who have been hurt so deeply. But I pray that nonetheless God will extend Peace to you. I don’t mean to say that I have answers as to why these things have happened to anyone, but I pray that in spite of it all, you will find peace this season.

Hug your children tightly tonight, if you have them. Life is short.

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