Every anguish we struggle with is bound in the fetters of time, bound up with things that come too late. Whoever mourns their beloved dead this Christmas feels time like a granite rock that will not move.
As the Christian church sings the ancient song of the promised child this season, how hard must be the work of words in Newtown, Connecticut. There, for hundreds—or shall we say thousands? shall we say all who are paying attention?—some promised child is no longer in promise.
It is hard to speak in the aftermath of great harm. In Newtown, Conn., where the dead are not yet buried, songs, silence, embraces, candles— these matter. Lots of words don’t. Politicians are mostly awkward with real speech and real feeling, yet they are given the microphones. Over and over, they stutter the word awful tragedy, as if saying it could soothe the ravening beast. It does not.
There are things to do to prepare for Christ. First, see this fact of our nature. Our rooms are all filled up. Every room is booked solid, all day, every day. We tell that there was no room in the inn for Jesus. Hah! When it comes to our stable personalities, there is not room for Christ in our feed trough, not room in the hay croft, not room in the closet or the cupboard or the cup! What’s filling us up? Our thoughts and our judgments.