Dear Readers,
The following liturgical poem or prayer was written by my daughter-in-law, Reverend Michelle Manicke.  She has captured the tragedy and the hope so much more effectively than I could at this time.  My heartfelt wish for you is that her words give you hope.   Jean


Advent Lament
(poured out in response to the shootings
in Newtown and Everytown)

We’re in the middle of Advent…
but it feels
like Good Friday has broken in:
O Come,
O Come now, Emanuel….
Why on earth
is the manger empty–but for blood-soaked swaddling cloths?

Teeth-clenching, gut-wrenching
lip-biting, broad-siding
a salt-waterfall
comes cascading down,
deepening despair
and disappearing
into the depths,
its source and destination the same.

Its source and destination the same,
out of the depths,
babbling and
billowing hope
comes burbling up
the tear-choked channel.
Heart-mending, fear-ending
breath-taking, life-shaking.

We’re in the middle of Advent,
but it feels
like Easter is breaking in:
O Come,
O, Come now, Emanuel….
Why in heaven
is the manger empty–but for lily-white grave cloths?

— Rev. Michelle Manicke