‘Tis the Season of Love and Forgiveness

The season of Christmas is upon us! And with this first day of December, we are receiving a blessing of snow that is swirling and twirling, flittering quietly to the earth. Not fun for those out on the roads, but a wonderful gift for those of us tucked safely inside our warm homes.

Thank you Lord for the safety and warmth of home.  It is not always that way for every one.

A couple days ago, a high school class up north in the county I was born and raised, was held hostage at gunpoint by a fifteen-year-0ld boy. One teacher and 23 students held hostage inside a classroom for about five hours until the boy released five students and then the rest of them a while later before turning the gun on himself and firing.  He was taken to the hospital, transferred to another hospital where he died the following day.

Those who were in the room, being held hostage, say they did not think he intended to harm any of them, that he just seemed sad. They knew him, many were friends with him.  They managed to talk to him, get him to laugh, share stories with him during the ordeal.  Not easy, I imagine, when someone has a gun in his hand and you don’t know for certain what he will or will not do.  They say he did not seem to fit the “troubled kid” modus operandi. He was a good boy, not a trouble-maker.  He made good grades, came from a close-knit family and was apparently well-liked. Will we ever know what precipitated the event?  I do not know.  I do know there are a lot of  people hurting right now — parents of the children held hostage, the teacher – the heroic teacher who acted as the liaison between the boy and the police, the students who were in the room, unable to leave and the family of the boy who is no longer with us. God be with them all at this time especially.

While the media probes and ponders trying to keep tabs on this story, let us remember the bigger picture – that this is a very raw time for all involved. This is why I had trepidations about a career as a journalist. My concern for others supercedes my desire to nail a story.  There is a world of agony that will take a while if ever to go away.  And for the family of the young boy who died, that wound will always be there. Painful. Sad. Troubling. With time, the raw-ness of it will fade perhaps to a dull ache, but it never completely goes away. They will carry it with them always.  I hope they are received by the community and embraced rather than shunned for the actions of their son. They need love and patience. They too need support. I pray the boy is at peace and that all remember the positive things about him rather than the actions of those last few hours.

On this day of quiet snow, let us remember those who have lost loved ones, what they have lost in terms of innocence, feelings of security, trust, etc…, be it the families up north in Marinette, Wisconsin or the families of troops – loved ones stationed overseas in war zones who are risking their lives daily and for those who have lost their lives in the service of this country.

‘Tis the season of forgiveness, of love, of peace, goodwill to all. Whether you celebrate the reason for Christmas or not, remember that above all, it is a season to open our hearts to one another regardless of belief or background.  For those of us who believe, it is the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who was born, lived and died to set us free.

May God bless you all and for those of you who are hurting in some way, shape or form, may your pain be temporary and may you feel arms of love surrounding you always.

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