Generosity Even in the Face of Grief
Last Friday, December 14, felt like the world, as we know it, ended. 26 innocents at a public school were massacred, 20 of them little children. Many of us noted that this tragedy happened during the time of Advent – when we wait for the light of Christ to shine a ray of hope in a dark and troubled world.
But Jesus’ birth was mired in tragedy too. The ever-paranoid Herod had all boys in Bethlehem, two and under, killed because he feared that one of them might take his throne. Thus Jeremiah’s prophecy was fulfilled, “A voice was heard in Ramah, Weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children." How were the people of that region in Bethlehem reacting to their own tragedy? What terrible darkness they must have felt as well. Jesus’ birth is layered with deep sadness as well as utter joy over the birth of a new baby. This year, the Nativity story will seem horribly fresh.
In the wake of Newtown, we can become paralyzed by grief, or we can act. Clearly, there are other children in our world who are dying every minute. What about donating 26 bed nets in memory of the Sandy Hill victims so that other children might live? How about sponsoring a child to honor the life of one of those first grade students? Have you been thinking about being a mentor at your local school? This may be the time to sign up. Become involved in banning assault weapons, funding mental health programs for youth, getting kids out of poverty. Empower yourselves to react in hope, even when you feel hopeless.
“And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” May we be that light that confounds, upsets, and crashes through the darkness.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.