Candlelight Vigils

by Joanie Butman

There are no words in regard to the Newtown tragedy, but for someone who often writes about faith, it begs a response especially in ‘light’ of yesterday’s blog.

Sometimes the only light we can hope to bring into someone else’s life is simply to stand with them and bear witness to their pain.  The candlelight vigils that have covered the news are a perfect example as the world mourns with the families of the victims and all who lived through that nightmare. I can’t help but think of the description of Jesus standing by his friend’s grave. It is the shortest sentence in the bible, “Jesus wept.” No doubt, He is doing the same over this unspeakable horror.

Those candles bring the light of Christmas right where it belongs – in the midst of unbearable heartache. Today, more than ever, it is important to embrace what that light represents.

A candle is a symbol,

it speaks of light, hope, warmth and love.

A candle is a sign,

it reminds us of the prayers of God’s people.

My husband asked an excellent question this morning – one I have been asking myself since this incident. “Is it disrespectful to go ahead and celebrate Christmas?” After much thought, I believe it is more important than ever for us to celebrate the birth of the one who will eventually put an end to all the evils of the world. It is the promise of the light of Christmas that we can choose to celebrate in honor of the entire Newtown community. Tragedies don’t divide us; they bring us together, which is right where we need to be when experiencing the dark night of the soul.

In the darkness of their unimaginable sorrow, we can only hope that our lights will be a source of comfort and strength. Yes, we need to celebrate Christmas because it is the only thing that makes sense in this crazy world.

At times such as these, I choose to cling to the only words that have the power to penetrate our pain. I pass along a scripture verse that was sent to me this morning.

“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our heartsto give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6) That is the true meaning of Christmas and something we need to celebrate especially when faced with such incredible suffering, not only of those in Newtown, but throughout the world.