Today, it was and still is in many churches, the custom to light the pink candle of the Advent Wreath at evening prayer, but this morning other candles have been lit, each person in church coming forward to light a small candle to join our prayers and tears to those shed across the Atlantic in the aftermath of the terrible shootings in Connecticut.
Somehow words are not enough and cannot express all that our spirit wants to say,so with just a brief bidding prayer the prayers of our deepest hearts were offered up in the kind of silence where you can hear the heart-beat of God, the kind of silence where the Holy Spirit carries the groans and sighs that cannot be expressed in words to the Father Heart of God. The same God who suffered for us in the person of Jesus on the cross, the one who sees the smallest sparrow fall.
We prayed in the quietness of church, a church whose walls have been built strongly to withstand the stormy blasts on the top of a high hill, for those in Connecticut, in the U.S.A. for those caught up in overwhelming, torrents of grief that they may know that Jesus is with them in their small boat, always.
When the Service was over, and folk gone home, two of us stayed awhile longer to make a stable beneath the main altar, we took away the purple Advent Frontal laid straw and put in place the Crib figures, Mary, Joseph holding aloft his lantern to keep the dark shadows at bay, the donkey, the ox, the manger, but no baby in the manger yet. He will first make an appearance for the children’s crib service on Christmas Eve. Then the purple hanging was replaced until the first School Carol Service
Wednesday morning when no doubt 300 or so school children will also be saying a prayer for the children lost, the families in Connecticut; the baby born at Bethlehem was the First Born in a very large family, He would have us do that.