I can’t sleep again, which means you’re about to get an unfiltered, unedited version of my thoughts. 😉
I had started a post late last week to share some of the terrifically tacky Christmas traditions I enjoy. I was laughing to myself (not an uncommon occurrence) as I recalled years of opening stockings without the use of hands—a tradition that had resulted from the tragic opening of all the gifts under the tree before my parents awoke one year. I actually used the word tragic in my post.
On Friday as I scrolled through my CNN app’s headlines reading of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, my response, utterly insufficient in depth, was, “I can’t believe I described our Christmas gift opening as tragic.”
I was sad for the moms, teachers, community. I was sad for the loss that people were feeling.
(Obviously, as is evidenced in my lack of descriptive words, I lacked much emotional empathy.)
Then I went to pick up my son. My kindergartener.
Fast forward to Saturday morning (because, honestly, the hours between the two are a blurred mess of emotion and thoughts that I do not want you to have to sort through without a professional therapist on hand).
Saturday morning I had a raw and precious time with the boy who has taught me more about God and what it means to have a relationship with Him than any professor, preacher, or teacher I have sat under.
I had decided to tell Brock about the tragedy that had taken place in Connecticut.
Other parents I talked to had decided to protect their kids from the story. Protect their kids from the fear of going to school. Protect their kids from worrying about guns and real life bad guys and death. Why rip their childhood right out of their hands by taking their security and innocence from them?
I get that.
I thought, though, if I can’t even protect my kid from me, how will I protect him from the world? How will I shelter him? Keep his mind and heart pure and innocent and free of fear and filth? I won’t. I can’t.
He has seen firsthand the devastation of human nature. He has been the victim of it. He has witnessed the splitting of a home. Of a marriage.
He has heard stories of children his age who have fallen prey to the world of trafficking. He has seen pictures of kids I have met in my travels and know of the dark worlds they live in.
He has packed food for hungry children, and has cried over the 18,000 kids who die each day because they did not get meals in time to save their lives.
He has seen and heard enough in his six years of life to know that this world is very broken. That people are very broken.
We sat across the table from each other, drinking coffee (because, yes, I am that mom who doesn’t even protect her kid from the pollution of a half of a cup of coffee with a half of a cup of cream. Let’s converse about the average American kid’s consumption of soda someday, if you’re appalled).
He made his way to my lap, and I cried, knowing that there was no explanation for for the pain that some moms were feeling today, not being able to hold their kindergartener like I could. Moms having to take the presents they had wrapped for their kids out from under the tree. Moms having to take the Star Wars sheets off the now empty bed upstairs.
We cried together, as I explained to him that there was no explanation for what had happened to the families in Connecticut. I told him there were no answers for their tears. No answers for why cowardly people do acts of violence against innocent children. I told him that I didn’t know why these things happened. Why bad things happened.
But I also told him what I did know. I told him, as we sat paralyzed by pain and mesmerized by the lights on the tree, that what we celebrate at Christmas is God’s plan to fix what was broken. God’s answer to our questions. Jesus.
And what I realized in that moment was that sometimes it isn’t an answer so much as it is His presence that we need.
Immanuel. God with us.