You can see the anticipation in children’s faces this time of year. The colorful lights, the decorated tree, the packages wrapped and the stockings hung on the mantel – all building up their excitement for Christmas day.
But six years ago, on December 14th, 2012, 20 precious little first graders innocently went to school and never returned home.
The mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut stunned and horrified our nation. Never before had we seen small children, little first graders, subject to such violence. Along with the 20 children, 6 teachers and school administrators lost their lives as well. It was a dark day in America – and an especially dark day for the parents and families who lost precious loved ones.
Since that day, there have been many, many more mass shootings in America with more than 2,100 lives lost.
As people of faith, we can’t just shrug our shoulders at this senseless loss of life and say, “It’s unfortunate, but bad things happen.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer urged people of faith toward “responsible action.” He said, “Only the man whose final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, or his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all this when he is called to obedient and responsible action in faith and in exclusive allegiance to God – the responsible man, who tries to make his whole life an answer to the question and call of God. Where are these responsible people?”
May we indeed arise and be “responsible people” and do all we can this Christmas and throughout the year to ameliorate suffering after tragedies like Sandy Hook.
First, I encourage you to pray for the parents and families who mourn such great loss – a loss that strikes particularly hard this time of year. But I also encourage you to move beyond your prayer and to take action. Go HERE and sign the Prayers and Action Prayer Petition or join the Survivor Sunday movement. There are many ways you can put your faith into action – including helping the survivors of gun violence. And, if you are a pastor or a leader in your church, you can decide to address the issue of gun violence from a biblical viewpoint in 2019 by downloading our free FULLY PROTECTED Bible study by going HERE.
This Christmas, may we honor the lives of the children and adults lost on December 14, 2012 through our prayers and our action.