A quiet tribute
A quiet tribute

Oh boy, another Monday in the books and now Tuesday starts. I look forward to Friday for a two week hiatus from teaching ESL. Don’t get me wrong, I love it and we have a great time learning this crazy English language. I guess what I am referring to is the heaviness of this past weekend and the beginning of the long burial process this week, the week before Christmas. I am at a loss to even begin to describe how I feel. There are ups and downs, but mostly sideways. Sunday night on NBC Sunday Night Football while my 9ers were battling the Pats the game was interrupted by comments from President Obama. The NBC announcers told people they would cut away but if we wanted to watch the game instead of listening to the President we could turn to CNBC until he was finished. Needless to say, I chose to listen to the President and am glad I did. His carefully chosen words were clear and very much to the point. He was speaking from Newtown at the local high school where town’s people were gathered for an inter-faith memorial prayer service. President Obama called the nation out. He asked the question of whether or not we as a nation are doing enough to keep our children safe. And he answered that question with a solemn, “No.” Acknowledging that this is the fourth time in his presidency he’s had to console victims of a mass shooting, the President said, “We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.” He did not come out specifically for gun control, but thought we need to change. He asked, “Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, the politics are too hard?” And speaking directly to those who say that unregulated guns are an expression of freedom in America, the President asked, “Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year is somehow the price of freedom?” Maybe it is time we moved from the dark ages into the light. The second amendment is not really a freedom per-se but a “provisional” freedom about forming militias. The rest of the civilized world just shakes it’s head when we talk about how much we love our guns. For some guns = freedom. I’m not sure what that means, maybe you can figure it out.

Fun fact for the day– about 1 out of every 3 people on the face of the earth celebrate Christmas. (I counted them all)

Today’s scripture comes from Matthew (Mt 1:18-25)

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,

The rest of that passage explains what “Emmanuel” means which is “God is with us.” I wish I had been named Emmanuel because it is definitely a cool name. This notion of God being with us is pretty cool in itself. It doesn’t mean God is with us when we always do the right thing or pray in the classroom or set up the Ten Commandments outside a court house. No it means that God is with us even when we don’t think God is with us, like last Friday. The stories of heroism by the teachers and the principal of Sandy Hook is the presence of God. Even at the moment of death, God is there. I don’t always remember that but that does not change the reality. Oh, and by the way, I can’t prove it empirically. I just know it. If I and you and those little ones all share the same breath, then that breath or spirit is, in my mind, God. When really bad things happen to really good people it doesn’t mean God has abandoned us. He is just harder to find in that instance. Look hard I say to myself…really look hard. For me, a first step in looking hard is to stop watching Fox News…

…and so it goes