Yesterday was the anniversary of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. I remember vividly the desperate pain, the absolute devastation of that day. I know everyone does. There is no way to forget the images and stories from that day.
The other thing I remember is writing the Advent prayer bead devotion that weekend following the shooting. I commented on how poignant it was that the tragedy had occurred during the season of Advent. This is a time like no other when we are called to be aware: to see the darkness, to feel the pain, to hear the cries of a world covered in sin. Why? So that we can understand how sin has damaged our world and how much we need a Savior. Watching media coverage of Sandy Hook, there was no denying how much we need God’s grace.
The words of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” capture this well:
O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile, here until the Son of God appear.
Like the Israelites during the exile from their homeland, we are distanced from God’s image for us and Creation. We are experiencing loneliness, grief, and pain. And we yearn for God to come down to earth to be among us, to share our experience, and to save us.
So let us take up our beads and feel the darkness of our world and pray for the coming of Emmanuel – God with us.
Cross: Gracious God,
Invitatory Bead: open my eyes and my ears,
Resurrection Bead (optional): so that I may understand the need for your son, Jesus Christ.
Cruciform Beads: O come, O come, Emmanuel,
Week Beads: name the pain that you see and hear in your own life, in the life of those around you, in your community, and in our world.
Resurrection Bead: Come, Lord Jesus,
Invitatory Bead: come and save us.