As Christians, here we are in the midst of Advent. December, the month we earnestly reflect on the coming of the Christ child, who became flesh as the Savior of this world. And yet we are still longing, yearning for Christ to put the world to rights—to re-make this place into one where the cold-blooded murder of innocents is no longer a reality, where pain and sickness disappear, where all things are made new. Our hearts cry out in unison, out of loss and longing for this new heaven and earth.
For those who renounce faith in God, these feelings still rear their mysterious head in the face of such devastating loss: the loss of children, beauty and the best humanity has to offer. In these moments, our Creator brings to the surface something we intrinsically hold deep within—a longing for something greater that feels just beyond our grasp.
Richard Rohr speaks of this longing in his book, Falling Upward. Of homesickness. That is what this earth is groaning for. We long for a home where wrong is made right. Where sickness takes flight. We long for redemption where death raises to life.
“Wouldn’t it make sense that God would plant in us a desire for what God already wants to give us? I am sure of it.” Rohr writes. “There is an inherent and desirous dissatisfaction that both sends and draws us forward, and it comes from our original and radical union with God. There is a God sized hole in all of us, waiting to be filled.”
In the coming days, we will learn more about each victim. Empathy will flood us high. We will relive their stories until our stomachs can’t bear it. And we will grieve, again and again. We dare not numb ourselves to it—those persistent and welling emotions—such grief can take us to new depths of brokenness and surrender. And in those depths, is the realization that mourning brings comfort, that above all, there is a God waiting to rescue in our darkest hour.
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