We sat together quietly weeping.  Thirty Annapolis women, mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers, having our annual Advent coffee…in tears over the horror of innocent first graders being gunned down in their school just days before.

Deep conversation between old friends

Deep conversation between old friends

This group of neighbors, church friends from different denominations, and community leaders has been meeting for over 35 years simply to study the Bible. We have one thing in common – Jesus.   The members in this sisterhood of believers are in different places in their own journey toward faith.  Grace is given for being in those different places.  This is our glue: We all believe Jesus is God and the source of all truth, all love and all grace.  We believe we are his people put here on earth to worship Him, and we meet together to help each other understand how that is to look in this world and in our families and our communities.

Deede, our friend, neighbor and inspiration.

Deede, now in her 70’s and still so lovely, led us through an Advent prayer as we all sat in Sally’s beautiful living room decorated for the season with memorabilia from many generations.

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Then we all started sharing our thoughts and feelings about the shooting in Connecticut last Friday.   Women who had lost husbands and children in years past spoke with the authority that can only come from personal experience – of God bringing them to a new understanding of Him as they suffered through their own excruciating pain. Lorrain talked about a pastor she knew close to where the shooting occurred. He and his congregation were now caring for the families of those who had lost precious little children – and the members of that congregation were suffering greatly as they tried to meet the needs of those families.

We remembered other children suffering in the world because of war and poverty.  We remembered our unborn babies lying peacefully in their mother’s wombs only to be painfully torn from that safe and sacred place. This remembering of other suffering children did not diminish the tragedy in Connecticut… rather, Connecticut brought back to our awareness the severity of the ongoing plight of other children in danger – those preyed upon by others the world over.

And this thought about vulnerable, sweet children throughout the world brought us back to Jesus – Jesus, born in poverty during the time of fearful Roman rule – Jesus born as a subject to a terrifying tyrant king – Jesus, a baby – displaced – a refugee without a home -Jesus, an innocent, brutally murdered as his mother grieved at his feet.  Jesus, a marvelous mystery – all man – all God – all good – all loving – all powerful – all knowing -all forgiving.

This season, in this time of suffering, choose to turn to Jesus for your comfort and help.  Choose to believe that Jesus is the source of all love, joy and peace.  Choose to believe in Jesus.

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