Remember the shining eyes of children

Published 7:16 am Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The children came marching in single file. Flash cameras went off as every child and grandchild came into the Christmas program at John Johnson Elementary School in Bainbridge. Mary Lou and I were there at 7:30 a.m. to get a good seat to watch our grandson, Henry, sing with his classmates.

As each grade performed, I was struck by the innocence in these children’s eyes. Their eyes shined with the joy of the Christmas season. They sang at the top of their lungs. They danced and performed to the delight of all present.

It was not more than an hour later that the horrible tragedy at the Newport Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., occurred.

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Twenty young children were killed, each shot more than once. They were just like the children at Henry’s school in Bainbridge.

In the space of an hour, I was taken from the unspeakable joy of watching my own grandson at a Christmas program to learning of the unspeakable horror of the massacre of children just like him.

I can’t even imagine what it must be like for the families of these fallen children. Like millions of Americans, I have tried to understand that which is beyond our understanding. My heart aches for them because I know it could have been any of our children or grandchildren, including my own.

In Bainbridge, the children’s eyes shined in wonder and innocence. The sparkle was obvious as they embraced the love and excitement of this season. They waved shyly at us as they marched in and sang. Our hearts filled with pride at even the most simple of tasks they performed.

Imagine them all being taken away. In just a moment they are gone, without any understanding of why. Surviving children are left mentally scarred, and parents and family will struggle for answers that will never come.

Our God did not allow this to happen. It is not His will that innocent children should die. Evil exists in the world and manifests itself when we least expect it. We are left to make sense of the unthinkable.

We rely on our faith to help us make it through these times. It isn’t about gun control or funding for mental health programs. Rather, it is about believing that Good can triumph over Evil, even if it is just one person at a time.
This Christmas season, we should hug those young children in our lives just a little bit tighter. We should do our part to make just one thing better for someone around us. We may never understand this tragedy, but we can still believe in the inherent goodness of mankind.
Do your part today. Work to help the eyes of innocent children shine once again with anticipation and joy. Help them feel safe. It is Christmas. If not now, then when?