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I first heard the news about today’s school shooting Connecticut the way I hear about most news items: through status updates on Facebook. (Yes, I am that girl.) My heart gave a lurch as I read status after status that spoke of tragedy in Connecticut, and I wanted to just turn away, to not hear whatever horrible thing had taken place.

But I couldn’t do that. How can you pray for peace if you are not willing to recognize the violence in the world? So I opened the Toronto Star app on my iPhone, and read about what had happened. It seems that this kind of news story is all too familiar these days. But this one seems to be hitting me especially hard.

Maybe because of the young age of the victims, or maybe because it just seems so wrong and jarring with Christmas less than two weeks away. Whatever the reason, soon after hearing the news, I was driving to Oshawa and tears rolled down my face as I listened to songs of hope and peace and joy. Songs of the season. Songs that declare that Jesus made a difference by coming into this world. I believe that, I believe it even more passionately on a day like today, a day of senseless violence.

I am brokenhearted at the news from Connecticut. My prayers are with all who have suffered because of this man’s decision to hurt the innocent. Because this is so much in my thoughts this evening, I am taking a break from the Advent Calendar blog that I’ve been writing.

There is a verse in the Bible that I turn to whenever I am feeling brokenhearted – whether because of my own loss or because of something terrible and tragic that has happened in the world:

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Psalm 34:18 NLT

I cannot make sense of a day like today, but I can take comfort in knowing that God is not far from us as we grieve.

May you also find comfort in these words. May you make better choices than the shooter in Connecticut did. May you hold your family and friends close today, and always. May your loved ones never have cause to doubt that they are loved. May you, may we all, find ways to live peace in a world that desperately needs it.