Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
I began writing this letter as news outlets were reporting on the horrific shooting of school children and teachers in Connecticut. I finished it after reading the Scriptures for the Third Sunday of Advent, calling us to rejoice.
In the midst of such a tragedy, to hear “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I shall say it again: rejoice!” in the readings this Sunday was jarring, almost too much. It is clear to see that there are times when the darkness can seem to be almost too much, and this is one of those times.
Even if we look away from Newtown, a brief glance at the papers or the Internet reminds us that all is not as it should be. The suffering caused by human violence and indifference, as well as by disease and natural disasters, can become overwhelming.
Christmas tells a different tale. After an Advent of expectant hope we are summoned to rejoice in the most amazing gift of all: God is with us; light does shine in the darkness.
But what of Newtown? What of all the suffering that we witness and experience?
Christmas is only part of the story. Born in Bethlehem, the House of Bread, Christ will go on to feed us with his own body, broken for our sake. The wood of the manger, the feeding trough, foreshadows the wood of the Cross.
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