There are some painful moments in life so unfathomable that the only possible response is prayer. Celebrating Christmas following the horrific events of December 14 in Newtown, Connecticut, is one such moment. How are we to thank God for the birth of this vulnerable child in a manger without thinking of those innocent victims—both children and adults—who died at the hands of such a troubled young man?
Our minds reel trying to understand. What sort of deep psychological problem casts a shadow so dark as to provoke such senseless slaughter? What family dysfunction leads a sick mind to conclude that such a hateful action is justified? What in the world are we teaching our young people—or failing to teach them—such that they should take refuge in rage and violence? What sort of world permits—even encourages—the proliferation of fire arms that gives ready expression to our personal fears and anxieties?
In the weeks and months that follow we will read much in our media as people offer answers and solutions to these grim questions. But each of us has another path as well: the path of prayer. As we take to God our heartfelt care for those whose lives have been forever shattered by this tragedy, we take as well our own need for healing and for wisdom. Only this way will future tragedies be avoided … as each of us shoulders the responsibility of living the true life God has called us to live.