The annual children’s Christmas program was tonight. Adorable angels sang their hearts out. One of the wise men cutely missed his cue. Enthusiastic three-year-olds rang jingle bells.
It was one of those shows that just give you the warm fuzzies.
I sat in the audience with Joseph on my lap. Unsure how he would last for an hour-long performance, I brought enough snacks to feed a zoo, and chose a seat near an exit, just-in-case we needed to discreetly duck out due to a toddler tantrum.
Thankfully, the cute kids and the Christmas carols had him absolutely mesmerized.
It was me who could barely keep it together as we sang the last verse of Away in a Manger.
Be near me, Lord Jesus;
I ask thee to stay
Close by me forever
And love me I pray.
Bless all the dear children
In thy tender care,
And fit us for Heaven
To live with thee there.
As I whispered the lyrics, arms wrapped around my snuggled-up son, I couldn’t help but think of the dear children who I believe are now with Jesus. The faces who were probably prepared to be in holiday pageants of their own. The little ones who were taken much too quickly, by horrific, unfathomable means.
I prayed for the parents who will never again have the chance to hold their sweet sons and daughters. I prayed that those little souls are being held in His tender care.
There are no more words to write. No explanations seem to be enough. No platitudes make it better. No solutions can take away the sting.
So I sat and I prayed. And I choose to trust in something bigger than myself. Bigger than the awful atrocities this world bears.
I take comfort that one day, every tear will be wiped away. All of the sad things will be made new. Gungor’s This is Not The End is a song (listen here) that gave Jonny and I comfort last year at this time when someone we knew heart-wrenchingly left this world too soon.
This is not the end
This is not the end of this.
We will open our eyes wide, wider.
This is not our last
This is not our last breath
We will open our mouths wide, wider.
And you know you’ll be alright
Oh, and you know you’ll be alright.
This is not the end
This is not the end of us
We will shine like the stars bright, brighter.