Remembering Newtown and Singing Jingle Bells

Nearly a year ago, I went out to lunch with a friend. When I returned I learned that a gunman had attacked a school down the road. We all know the horrific story now, and a year later, though the emotions aren’t as raw, I’m also not sure that anything that went terribly awry last year has been mended or reconciled or explained in any way. Perhaps the questions will always remain. Not only the questions of Adam Lanza’s motives, but the questions of God’s presence and providence as twenty first graders were murdered on a sunny Monday morning.

Last year, I wrote a post called Where is God When Children Are Murdered Down the Road?  I don’t have much to add to it, other than that I am glad, in a way, that my memory of this tragedy will always bump into my anticipation of Christmas. The anniversary of the Newtown shooting will always coincide with Advent, with the mournful, expectant waiting for Jesus’ arrival. And perhaps this is as it should be–a recognition of this in-between space, in which the glimmer of hope breaks into the darkness, and yet the darkness still sometimes seems to be ever-present.

At dinner tonight, our kids decided to ask God’s blessing upon our meal by singing Jingle Bells. After we finished, I said, “Guys, what does Jingle Bells have to do with Christmas?”

William said, “Jesus!”

I asked, “What does Jingle Bells have to do with Jesus?”

And he said, “Bells. Happy. Jesus. Happy.”

I wish it were so simple. There’s a little part of me that thinks he is right, that hopes he is right. Jesus. Happy. Even those who mourn will be made whole, will be able to rejoice.

In this season of grief and anticipation, in this season of hope and peace and joy, come, Lord Jesus.

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