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Christmas is usually a big deal at our house. But it’s hard to know what seasonal brand of cheer we should be feeling this year.

My son and daughter are 10 and 7 years old. On Friday night, as news of the Newtown “massacre” broke, and after the children had been tucked safely in their beds, I sat down in my rocking chair and allowed myself to imagine what it would be like to be one of the Sandy Hook Elementary parents whose child had been murdered, or perhaps worse, the surviving parent of Adam Lanza.

But I couldn’t stay in that terrible place in my head and heart for very long. It was with a tremendous gush of relief and gratitude that I emerged, and went to embrace my peacefully sleeping children.

I had to reassure myself that they were alive, well and happy.

But 28 Newton families cannot escape this new reality. They are in lock down for life, trapped in a world where their child never grows up, or a wife never returns home. They have no choice but to deal with it. Ad nauseam. Ad infinitum.  And probably on their knees, for a while at least.

While each of us, who has escaped such a terrible fate, bustles about preparing for holiday festivities—ironically, the season of good will towards all humanity—we cannot avoid the spiritual taint of Newtown, and all that it implies.

Lest we forget, humanity’s appetite for inflicting horrors on children is not new, as my husband was quick to remind me when I hinted this might be an “American problem”. In 1996, a Scottish pedophile, Thomas Hamilton, opened up on a kindergarten class in the town of Dunblane (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Dunblane_school_massacre) with four handguns, killing 16 children between the ages of 5 and 6, along with their teacher.

Will gun control solve the problem?

In the past, the issue has always been a source of intense debate at my house, usually with me against, and the other half protecting his “right to bear arms”.  We’ve learned that there’s no simple answer to this question.

However, what we do know is that society is adept at creating WMD’s in the minds of its people.

Every time we bully, ridicule, project our hatred onto others—or perhaps just fail to be sensitive to the fragility of the human psyche and how much we all need so desperately to be loved—we are building weapons in the minds of the vanquished that may later return in the form of another Adam Lanza to haunt us, or forever destroy our peace of mind.

If society cannot claim “mea culpa”, who should? A dead twenty-year-old kid? I doubt his shoulders are big enough to bear the full brunt of it.

Still, as I witness the parents of Sandy Hook rise up to bear the burden of their terrible loss with such grace and love, I am reminded that all is not lost for us–provided we see the light. While every parent cannot help but think “there, but for the grace of God, go I”, we must also acknowledge our collective debt to them.

Let us pray for the families of Newtown. Let us pray for the hope that we can change.

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3 Responses to Prayers for Newtown

  1. Carolyn (http://www NULL.mommyinthemiddle NULL.com) says:

    It’s impossible to make sense of this Angel, no matter how I try.

    I was in Danbury Connecticut this weekend (next door to Newtown) for a family event. I wrote about it here: http://www.mommyinthemiddle.com/aftermath-of-sandy-hook/ (http://www NULL.mommyinthemiddle NULL.com/aftermath-of-sandy-hook/)

  2. ExpiredEggs? (http://www NULL.expiredeggs NULL.blogspot NULL.com) says:

    With every disaster, I become more convinced that the best weapon we have against evil is prayer. Laws can only do so much to protect us from each other and ourselves.

    I refuse to become a victim of fear, and I encourage us all to do the same. I blogged about this today (http://expiredeggs NULL.blogspot NULL.com/2012/12/i-refuse-to-become-victim-of-fear NULL.html).

  3. I agree about refusing to let fear rule your life choices. But, even now, I still cannot help thinking of the parents of those children as I hold my own so very close. When my sister died at a very young age, I went throug h a period of about a year when I felt that I might not make it. In photos taken back then, I looked like a ghost. That was over 30 years ago. Today, I can think of her with fondness. But I CAN tell you that losing her marked me for life, and sent me on a different path.
    As parents, this must be more amplified for them–a more excruciating pain, a greater burden. It will mark them for life.
    Are prayers enough for them? I don’t know. But, in the end, we have no choice but to ask for a “higher power” to step in and carry them through it all. Like “footprints in the sand”.

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