Enough. This is enough. I look at the faces of our three children — our son the same age as the youngest victims of Friday’s tragedy — and I declare that this is enough.
It is Advent, the season of hope. It is the season of making ourselves ready for the coming of Christ. We … our grieving sisters and brothers in Newtown, Connecticut, and all of us who keep watch with them and pray with them and weep with them … have witnessed a dark shadow descend over this season of light. We have seen the hopes and dreams of little children and the selfless adults charged with their care extinguished by an act of indescribable violence. Enough.
We are a people who walk in darkness. In the mire of wanton death and destruction, we scratch and fumble and claw for some glimpse of light. And we have seen a light … small and fierce … beginning to penetrate the gloom. We have seen the people of Newtown wrap their arms around each other in love and solidarity. We have seen the people of this country — people of all races, faiths and walks of life — express their care and support and outrage in the wake of Friday’s tragic events. We have seen an outpouring of love from all across the world. It is a precious ray of hope in this time of deep sadness. But love and goodwill (in and of themselves) are not enough.
We have heard a call. Terrible and deafening. We have heard a call that must shake us to our bones. We are called to be changed. We are called to recognize the fact that we have failed each other and to own the horror that our failure has been visited on the innocent among us. We — the grown-up people of this country — need to have the courage to engage in some difficult conversations. Conversations that we have avoided mostly because they make us uncomfortable. We need to talk about guns. We need to talk about the state of mental health care in our society. We need to recognize the tangled matrix of issues involved in these acts of mass violence and not throw up our hands at the complexity of these painful events, but get to work. The light we seek this Advent is one that lays bare our failure. But it is not a light that sows despair and shame. It is the light of Christ — the light that shows us our wounds so we can be healed. In this light, we can hope. In this light, we can be transformed. In this light, we can strive to honor the memory of those whose lives were ended so violently and so soon.
This Advent, Lord, hear us with one voice (a voice wavering with sorrow but clear and firm in resolution) proclaim that this is enough. Enough. Let your light — the light that the darkness cannot overcome — stir us from our complacency and sense of helplessness. Grant us courage to ask difficult questions and to accept that we must change. Wrap your loving arms around the community of Newtown. Give them the peace that is yours, the peace that passes all understanding. Bless and welcome the children and adults who have come home to you. Transform us, Lord. We have had enough. Amen.