April McGowan

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

My heart is so saddened by the past few days. We’ve had shootings at our Clackamas mall, then our local pet store caught fire (nearly all the pets were lost), and now the shootings in Connecticut follow that up. I’m left feeling empty and sad. There are hundreds if not thousands in mourning this week—a week we’re supposed to be preparing for Christmas and enjoying family traditions.

Seeing the flags flying at half-mast in town was a dampening reminder today. And while I drove around with my family, doing some last minute shopping and buying a much needed pair of boots for my daughter, I was struck by how life still moves on despite the loss. However, the twinkling lights, merry music and usual hope of the season is contrasted by loss. Deep, heart wrenching loss. It brings us back to where we lay our hope. Is our hope here on this Earth, or does it lay in the hands of our Savior?

I’m struck by the stories of unselfish love emerging out of the tragedy. From the people in the mall who stayed with the injured, even as they lay dying, to the teachers who risked (and lost) their lives protecting their students. And while some shout, “Where was God?” or claim He turned a blind eye because the schools have quit teaching about Christianity, I say He was right there in the midst of it. Because, where there is sacrificial love, there is the Son, and where the Son is, there is the Father.

So when I drive around this year, looking at the Christmas lights, I’m going to be remembering the sacrifice and loss of many—but especially the sacrifice of the One, who came to cast light into the darkness, to draw us unto Himself in our grief, to save us from our iniquities. Emmanuel—God with us. He promises never to leave us nor forsake those who belong to Him, no matter what evil plays out here in this world.

John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.


  1. Gloria Solstad
    Dec 16, 2012

    Well written April. We still have a loving heavenly Father whose heart is breaking as well. May God surround each of those who have suffered loss sense with His comfort and peace.

  2. NikeChillemiNik
    Dec 16, 2012

    April, I share your grief and pain. We were hit by hurricane Sandy. Our church collected $4K for a prison ministry pastor who had the entire top of his house blown away by the storm. He and his wife cried today as they accepted the check in front of our small congregation. Many contributed, not only church members. I think this is a time when we have to hug up close to the Lord, pray with other believers and keep loved ones close.

    • April
      Dec 16, 2012

      Nike, it’s sure a reminder never to take any relationship for granted. How neat that your church and others reached out and supported them. It’s such a comfort to others to know they are not alone in their struggles. That makes all the difference in the world!

  3. Valerie Becker
    Dec 16, 2012

    Thank you!

  4. Suzanne
    Dec 16, 2012

    God’s blessings on you for reminding us of the One who is walking beside us and grieving with us for the pain caused by the Evil Ones in this world.

    • April
      Dec 16, 2012

      Thanks, Suzanne. Many blessings to you, as well.

  5. elainemanders
    Dec 19, 2012

    There is a time to mourn, and it’s especially hard at Christmas, but there’s a time to rejoice too. Find the time to rejoice at this Christmas no matter what. You will be greatly blessed. Know that I love your fellow mourners and pray for you.

What do you think? Leave me a comment :)

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