Sadly, it’s truly not news, just another invasion of peace and tranquility defying any means to ignore it:
The children of Aleppo being executed since they could not flee the order to leave or the terror of bombardment. They were not collateral damage. They were the targets.
The children of Sandyhook, and their teachers of course, were slaughtered by a madman with a gun he should never have had, so it seems. They were not collateral damage. They were the targets.
The children of our cities left to suffer loneliness and violence of all kinds at the hands of flawed, seriously flawed, adults. They are not collateral damage. They are the targets.
The children of our Church horribly used and abused by men of God living damaged lives themselves. They are not collateral damage. They are the targets.
The children of our own homes look to us to be examples of mercy, forgiveness, healing and hope not participants in some virtual reality devoid of love, replaced by convenience and ambition. We must not allow them to be collateral damage of any violence, particularly that of denying they even exist to us.
- We must embrace our children in total and unqualified love each and every day no matter their standing in our expectations of them.
- We must protect our children from every possible harm by ensuring they are clear that our love for them is as the people they are not some dream.
- We must do all we can for all the children we can, to share the Good News of God’s love no matter their size, shape, color, gender, ethnicity or belief.
- We must do all we can to protect our children from anyone who cannot control themselves from doing anything less than honoring these young lives entrusted to us.
We are told that Jesus said to his disciples, “let the children come to me.” In the predominantly adult male culture of the day, children of any gender were not commonly welcome in the matters of religious discourse. So, the simple request Jesus made to those around him bore within the words the profound insight of a child’s willingness to accept others as they are. In so doing, the message of love brought by Jesus is clear, simple and a gift for all.
The Jubilee Year of Mercy cannot be over. As long as our children are targets of anyone, we must do all we can to protect them, love them and be open to their love for us. Perhaps this is the real story of Christmas and has always been.