All around us flicker the bright lights and carols of happy Christmas. It is the season to be loving, forgiving, joyful, generous, free of resentments, self-pity, fear and anger, but for many people it is a time of feeling lost, lonely, betrayed, and too often deeply grieving the loss of ones they love. How far away the angels feel! Then we cannot even breathe love from the heart, or find our connection to that ineffable light, love, beauty and mystery that we call God (such a difficult word, freighted with the centuries). It is easy to get grumpy: Bah Humbug!
And so for the first time in this blog, I offer not a story of angels diving invisibly into our lives, saving lives, or warming, comforting, healing, handing out their hope. Instead, I offer a way out, when we feel so pressured to sing with Christmas spirit; to become instead the angels we long for, the Madonna, the Christ child, the physical eyes and hands and heart of invisible Spirit.
I ask you please to join on December 12 the Vigil at the Washington National Cathedral on behalf of the thousands who are killed each year from guns.Or send up prayers. Or write your Congressmen. But I’ll talk just of children. Between 1979 and 2010 119,079 children died from guns. This is more deaths in 32 years than all the US soldiers killed in in Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan and Iraq combined (Children’s Defense Fund 1.01.13). On average one child or teenager is killed or wounded by a gun every thirty minutes. For every gun death, three other children suffer injury (Children’s Defense Fund, 2012) The rate of gun-related killings for U.S. children younger than 15 is almost 16 times greater than the rates of 25 other industrialized countries combined.
Tragically, recent investigations reveal that the NRA has attempted to suppress this information regarding children, teens and guns. In opposition to “safe storage laws” or fingerprint-only trigger actions, or laws that limit assault weapons, the NRA maintains that “children were more likely to be killed by falls, poisoning or environmental factors” than by guns. This assertion is incorrect, for recent research shows that accidental shootings occurred roughly twice as often as records indicate. I’m not demanding gun control. Let’s talk instead of safety.
On December 12, at 3:45 pm the Washington National Cathedral is holding a Vigil on behalf of the victims of gun violence. Please take a moment and
- register with Canon Patty Johnson PJohnson@cathedral.org – no charge, but just so they can track numbers, and
- Send this to 3 other people whom you think might attend.
Christmas is not about forced gayety. It is about honoring our own loneliness and anguish at being separated from Goodness, trust, forgiveness, love. When we are loving and do loving things, we feel happy, joyful, free. When we act out of hatred, fear, anger, bitterness, greed, we are unhappy. It’s as easy as that. Help guard our little children. Do something.