Today, 27 people — including 18 children — were killed in a shooting at a Connecticut elementary school. The killings at the school in Newtown, Connecticut make the terrible tragedy one of the worst massacres in the nation’s history.
But this isn’t the first time a gunman has opened fire and taken multiple lives with his actions.
In July, a gunman killed 12 people and wounded 58 others at “The Dark Knight Rises” movie premier at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater. A few weeks later, another gunman killed six people and himself at a Sikh temple in Milwaukee.
The senseless acts of violence have many recalling the Columbine High School shootings as well, that took place in a Denver suburb.
Such violence is not limited to the United States. Also today, a knife-wielding man injured 22 children and one adult outside a primary school in central China as students were arriving for morning classes. The man first attacked an elderly woman, then students, before being subdued by security guards.
The shootings have already sparked fierce and intense political debates. But out nation ought to take time to pause, and pray.
It would be easy to point out how the deaths of millions of unborn children from abortion have resulted in a general lack of respect for life that plays out in incidents like this. But today is not a time for politics and exploiting a horrific tragedy to make a political point.
What everyone horrified and saddened by these shootings should do is take a moment to pray for a respect for human life and an appreciation of one another as human beings.
The Christian writer Max Lucado has penned some very thoughtful words in his own prayer to God, demonstrating a clear yearning for love in a time of hate.
“It’s a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately,” he writes. “These killings, Lord. These children, Lord. Innocence violated. Raw evil demonstrated.”
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“The whole world seems on edge. Trigger-happy. Ticked off. We hear threats of chemical weapons and nuclear bombs. Are we one button-push away from annihilation?” Lucado continues. “Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas. But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod’s jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty. Dark with violence.”
“Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene,” Lucado prays.
“Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won’t you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger,” he concludes. “This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.”