Years ago I listened to a political talk show host on the radio. Often he would target the words politicians flippantly used in sharing their views on major issues. The host would question if they really meant to say what they said as he reminded his audience by leaning into the microphone with a deep voice to state, “Words mean things.” These three words still ring in the back of my mind as I type on my keyboard.
But there are times when it is just simply hard to find the words as I try to express my deepest condolences to the families who have lost their children to the tragedy in Newtown, CT. What words do you use? Having experienced the kick in the stomach of being on the side of parental hears receiving those unbelievable words …I know words aren’t even heard at a time like that. You’re numb. This can’t possibly be true rang in my ears like a screaming siren. You hear nothing else for days.
As my eyes were glued to the television this morning I began to pray for those dealing with the news of this tragic loss. Then I heard a whisper to grab a pad and start making a list of the words I was hearing. Here are a few: safe, secure, innocent children, protective teachers, trapped, helpless, mental illness, gun control, devastation, state of shock, a week before Christmas, has touched every heart, community coming together, reaching out, not alone, outpouring of support, pray for families, compassion, love, grace, faith is getting them through this, relationship with God is incredibly important, will learn from this tragedy, will celebrate the true meaning of Christmas this year, having joy in the midst of the grief, held together by something greater than ourselves, richer faith can happen, and God is with us.

In Isaiah 7:14 it says, Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Do you know what the name Immanuel means? God with us!

As you celebrate the gift of God being with us remember these families, students, teachers, community, and church leaders in Newtown. Ask the Lord to make it a New Town under God’s mercy and grace as they experience God powerfully being with them.

Hug as much as you can this Christmas and show the love of Jesus in your smile. I pray it is a sweet time of remembering His greatest provision of all time; Immanuel.