The faces of children

Christmas cards on pantry doors
Children’s faces beam at me from our pantry doors, bringing to mind the 20 children who lost their lives yesterday in Newtown, Conn.

Numbed by the senseless killing of 20 children yesterday in Connecticut, I went back to the drawing board for this week’s post. No topic merits discussion more than the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.

Like a lot of people, I experienced deep and complicated emotions when I first heard the news. Two of my own three children were at school at the time. When they board their respective buses each day, I take for granted that they will return home. Friday, there were 20 kids who will never again return home.

I don’t think the impact of the tragedy hit me until this morning. Armed with a cup of coffee to warm my body after a chilly pre-dawn run, I headed to the pantry for the pancake mix. And there they were, staring at me: Children.

This year Carla has been attaching with clothes pins the beautiful Christmas cards we receive to two parallel strips of red ribbon. I was dubious that the cards would actually stay up given the amount of traffic our pantry gets. So far, they’re hanging tight, giving me a smiling, happy greeting every time I go for a protein bar or handful of almonds.

What struck me this morning about these cards is the number of children adorning them. Radiant, innocent, mischievous, smiling faces. These faces are making my Christmas season brighter like no amount of twinkling lights can.

Today, there are 20 fewer such faces in the world.

No doubt the parents of some of these children had already sent their family’s Christmas photo card. Stuck with a magnet on someone’s refrigerator is a joyful face of a child whose life has been cut short. I can’t imagine the pain these parents are experiencing and the loss that the school and community are feeling.

I can imagine my pantry doors with fewer children, and it makes me sad.

I have seen much more eloquent responses to this tragedy in the blogosphere in the last 24 hours. I couldn’t help myself. So join me in remembering these families in prayer. There’s really nothing more I can say.

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