In the wake of this terrible tragedy, may those of us who have watched in horror at the pain of those families and the loss of those children have the strength not to seek comfort but to embrace challenge.
The war is the constant push of Santa to claim the holiday and the constant message of fear, self-protection, violence and the "look out for me and kind and shoot the rest of them" that opposes, negates and drowns out the good tidings of "peace on earth" among people.
What do we do now in the face of tragedy? Though Joseph may have, we do not need to have capacity to forgive; that can be for some other time. Right now we need to build our capacity for light, for hope and for strength, slowly, one candle at a time.
Parents, children and teachers woke up last week in Newtown, Conn., and had no idea that life as they knew it was over. But what I must say this morning is this: Darkness does not win. Jesus was born, lived and died so that darkness does not win.
Today, we must find the dreamers and the actors in our time. We must speak out. We must speak up, and we must do so today. It is the time to talk about gun control. It is time to help those who have mental illness.
Having guns is dangerous for those who own them as well as those who are around them. Nobody can argue with that. Sure, experts are safer. Then let's require our gun users/owners to be actual experts.
We must not wait around for miracles. Only we can counteract the evils in our world. Only we can impart upon our children a vision of light, of hope for the future, and pray for them to find a way to actualize that dream.
We have given up certain rights in order to travel safely. We must now give up some rights to remain a civil society. And security on school campuses must be more stringent.
Having spent this week celebrating light during this Season of Light, we now are called upon to be face to face with a darkness that also runs deep. We are beset with the lingering fears and heartbreak that will be imprinted by this terror. How can we turn once more to the light?
We are horrified by the tragic mass murder in Connecticut, a tragedy we can scarcely fathom. Even though our revelry is dampened by the sadness, we will not let our celebration be swallowed up.
Do we fear God? Do our politicians fear God or do they fear the NRA? Until we figure out a way to protect the most defenseless ones who have been entrusted to our care, we have truly failed as a society.
It is almost impossible to comprehend the senselessness and loss resulting from the recent murders in Newtown, Conn. It has traumatized a community and the country.
Although we were unable to provide safety and peace for the victims of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, we can pray that their souls find shelter under G-d's mighty wings.
Tonight we light the Shabbat candles. And even with heavy hearts we celebrate, we embrace life and the time we have together. We truly don't know what will be. All we know in this moment is that we have each other. And that is enough. Make it count.
The world cried "God Bless America" / As the walls came tumbling down. / But how could He bless what had happened / Unless He didn't care. / And if He didn't care / Why cry for His protection at all?
What comforts me is the biblical teaching that God is available to us to hear our pain and absorb our anger. God's availability provides us with comfort and strength. It does not comfort me to think that God is the cause of the pain, nor that God wills the death of innocents.