On the second day of Christmas, Christ revealed to me: the love from prayers amidst a tragedy.
Busy, crowded shopping malls. Lights strung around department store windows displaying manequins in snow-dusted sweaters. A line of giggling, antsy children stretched around Santa’s village, waiting to crawl up on that magical knee and tell the big man what’s on their wish list this year.
That’s what you think when you pull into the mall parking lot this time of year, right?
Do you think about guns? 60 bullets that flew between Macy’s and the food court, buzzing past mothers with bags full of presents, toddlers licking melty ice cream cones and couples enjoying their time off work to window shop for gifts that wish they could afford.
Do you second guess whether that 22-year-old man walking next to you is going to cover his face in a hockey mask, pull out an semi-automatic riffle and start pulling the trigger?
No one wants to think about that possibility, right? Those thoughts seem to be ideas that are the farthest away from the Joy we experience at Christmas.
But this haunting image was a reality yesterday, when 22 year-old Jacob Tyler Roberts fatally shot two people at Clackamas Town Center on the Southeast side of Portland. Shoppers and workers frantically ran to escape the mall, trying to save themselves, loved ones and strangers from the bullets that Roberts fired from his AR-15.
The question that has been on so many minds – ‘How could something so tragic happen at this time of year?‘
I ask myself the same thing. I ask God as well. Why something this horrific? Why something this brutal? Why here? Why them? Why now?
And I admit, it’s hard to center our minds on Joy and Christ when two people were killed yesterday, but I promise you, it’s there. He’s there.
If you have a facebook account, I’m sure you saw the numerous posts saying things like, “My heart goes out to all those effected by the shooting in Clackamas. I am praying for the victims.”
Post after post, I read the words “praying,” and “prayer,” – read them from those I didn’t know were people of faith. Maybe they do know God, and maybe they don’t, but regardless, they were in conversation with our Father, asking Him to give hope, peace and comfort to all those effected.
And maybe the same reaction happens at any time of the year, but I’d like to think that this tragedy during the Christmas season has people’s hearts on hyper alert. Not only are people willing to give material gifts, but they are giving the power of their loving thoughts, asking God for help and giving their worries to Him. Maybe that is the best way we can give this Christmas season.
** Check back tomorrow to see what Joy I’ve discovered on the Third Day of Christmas. Miss Day 1? Check it out! **