Sunday, December 16, 2012

The tragedy in Newtown

The tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut is a grim reminder of how vulnerable the most vulnerable among us are. We don't often think about it until something like this happens. We try hard to minimize risk in life. Children are the most at risk and trust adults to do the best for them. Sometimes the risks in life are all too clear and disturbing. Like this week. Before the tragedy this week I had been reading of other tragedies in other places in the world. Places we don't usually hear about. Or if we do we don't hear about the worst things that are going on there. China is much in the news and we can't buy anything it seems without the made in China brand on it. China's official one child policy makes China's children much at risk especially girls. In India it is much the same. The kidnapping of children and the selling of children into the international sex tourism trade operates mostly under our radar but it is growing exponentially. Even in our own American cities. Children in poor countries like Haiti are seriously underfed, uncared for, and many are without anything that resembles what we think of as family life. Children in war torn areas of the Middle East are being raised in a culture of terror and violence. We have heard of the Taliban's war on children.

It is not easy being a child in our world today. This week we are in the third week of Advent in which we celebrate the coming to earth of a child, God's son. He was born at a risky time to poor, young parents. He took a long dangerous journey while he was still in his mother's womb. He was forced to flee to a foreign country with his parents to save his life when he was a toddler.  Much of his early life was lived at risk. Maybe that is why he showed such love and concern for children when he was an adult. In his world, like in many places in ours, children were not valued. They were overlooked, used by others and abused by the adult world. Unwanted children were left by the road to die. More than most Jesus understood the vulnerability of children. Jesus took them into his arms and blessed them. I saw one of those facebook posts this week with a picture of Jesus carrying a child. He carries many children in his heart today and every day. He weeps for the children who are victimized every day. He shares his tears with us so we can pray and so in some small ways we can bless the children within our reach today.