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A week of grieving, part of Advent

In this week of Advent, we feel the heart-rending loss of precious lives in Connecticut. We share the grief of families, neighbors, our whole nation and world. We breath ... please - comfort. Please - support. Please - healing words. Please - healing touch. Please - friendship. Please - empathetic tears. Please - feeling upheld by the Holy Spirit.

Today we can't help but recall that the Christmas story is about God coming into the world in vulnerability, living from birth to death as a vulnerable innocent, surrounded by senseless human violence. As Mary and Elizabeth swaddle their newborn sons, each wonders what awaits their sons Jesus and John, with their special callings from God. Prophets don't often have a happy end, they know. As magi come to honor the infant Christ, Herod wrings his hands in the background, plotting regime continuation at any cost. Swords and spears are the assault weapons of his day, and he has a good supply.

Perhaps in our heartbreak, our hearts will be enlarged for greater compassion for all who suffer from the vicious cycles of human violence, wherever they are ... because the tears of a parent or child in Connecticut are not so different from the tears of a parent or child in Afghanistan, Gaza, Israel, Congo, Darfur, or the mean streets of our own cities. Where bullets fly, parents cry, and God is found suffering among the victims, bringing comfort through Presence and through shared tears.