It's Christmas Eve and I am thinking about how blessed we all are – even those who have recently endured a terrible tragedy. My heart goes out to all the parents, siblings, extended family and friends of the victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I wonder where their hope is now.
Said one Catholic priest, "It's always hard to bury a child," but these are important moments, an opportunity to come together, to remember that we have new angels in heaven."
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Our culture today dismisses him as nothing more than a great teacher. But when tragedy strikes, everyone goes to church. The church is nothing but the body of Christ – followers of a God who tells us that there is more than what is here on this earth.
If we didn't have this knowledge (or belief as some might call it), how could we go on? At least if there's a heaven, we know we'll be reunited with our loved ones. Without that hope, we would all feel doomed.
The story is that God came down from heaven in flesh (Jesus) to bridge the gap between humanity and God. He came to show that He understands suffering (the Cross). He came to save us from ourselves and to tell us that we are loved no matter what we do. But I think the greatest gift is knowing that this is not all there is. I could write a dissertation about all the ills facing the world today, but I don't want to be a downer. Suffice it to say that God's grace abounds and that there is a dimension we can't see and we can have hope (this feeling of looking forward to something we desire) that we will experience this dimension once we leave our earthly bodies.
This is Christmas time. My prayer is that the grieving families who have lost their loved ones will cling to the hope that Christmas brings – Jesus and an ever loving God – and that they will get the help they need in the meantime as they wait for their turn to enter the gates of heaven.
If you are not religious or have another faith, just know this: You are loved more than you can ever understand here on earth. I pray that love is shown to you today and through the coming years through those who love God and their neighbors as they do themselves.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Holidays…Happiness to you and yours now and always!