As the weekly local church service began for me and the congregation, the bells tolled for each victim at Sandy Hook Elementary. Following prayer for Newtown families, the children’s pageant was presented with Mary, Joseph and the wise men followed by the angels. And the angels, quietly filtered down the center aisle, dressed in brilliant white with their tinseled halos to the ah’s of the parents and grandparent’s tiny voices. Unfortunately, I had a difficult time controlling my tears during the unsettling irony of the moment. How beautiful they were and how terribly sad at the same time as they, too, representing the real angels who assumed a heavenly position as a result of this past week’s tragedy.
They weren’t just our local children and grandchildren in costume praising the birth of Christ but an unexpected reminder that though our nation’s children’s lives were taken so tragically creating unimaginable pain, it was their time to be angels in a much more important life. Unbeknownst to the local children performing, they were angels in part that proclaimed the blessings of miracles the Christ child would offer in his coming to this world. Needless to say, time is limitless for they, too, proclaimed miracles that could happen today if we only learned how to love and protect each other. They were spiritual teachers taking us one step further in communicating the message on how we must never stop valuing the human condition; how a strong community needs to continue to fight over savage violence.
Maybe we need to take a look at our homes and though we cannot control mental illness, we can make sure that assault weapons are not a part of our personal landscape especially if there are serious concerns about family member’s mental capabilities. Maybe we need to think about gun regulation all together. Maybe we need to invest in metal detectors in all school environments in addition to alternative and high school settings. Maybe we need to intensely train our school staff and teachers throughout the country to know how they may help to avoid such a catastrophe.
But, ultimately, we need to build communities that will pursue every measure to watch over each other. We need to take responsibility for our friends and neighbors responding to their needs as well as our own; offering support and guidance when they may be suffering. Their lives may be more bearable as a result of our gifts. In turn, our own lives grow in miracle and beauty beyond imagination. That is what the angels have repeated for thousands of years.
I just don’t know why we are not listening.