This Advent: Somewhere between “what the Hell” and “But God”

I woke up today in a world that feels darkly different, so much crueler than the one I woke up to yesterday.

Yesterday when I spent the morning making a felt fire pit for my two little ones so their pretend camping play would seem more authentic.  I logged off the internet and I chased them around the house, stopping occasionally to sew up another log for the fire.

We danced around to Sesame Street, because the word on the street was “Bailé

Then as I rolled up turkey lunchmeat and peeled little clementines for their plastic plates I skimmed the Facebook statuses of my friends and read of their sobbing, wrenching grief.

Confused, I flipped on CNN and hit my knees.  Dear God what fresh Hell is this?  Dear God what the Hell… What true and actual Hell is this?

And I ran to grab my little ones right of of their play tent and held them so tight they squirmed.  I kissed them until they were a bit damp and my lips a bit chapped.

Later that evening,I thought of christmas gifts purchased for little hands that will never open them.

As I did the laundry I thought of those mothers, those homes with last night’s pajamas in the hamper, never to be worn again.

Of those mothers in Connecticut with idle hands that cannot fix the rending of their hearts or the hearts of their sisters and PTA Friends.

I’ve spent large chunks of time over the last 24 hours tugging on my hair and burying my tear stained face in my hands.

How do I go on living in a world where children just like mine go to the safety of their classroom and never come out?  Seriously, how?

The only piece of sanity I’ve been able to find have come, quite surprisingly through the lines of the Christmas carols drifting through our living room.

“Oh come, Oh come Emmanuel and Ransom captive Israel that mourns in lowly exile here until the Son of God Appears”

“Long lay the world in sin and error pining til he appears and the soul felt its’ worth.”

“Come thou Long Expected Jesus, born to set they people free.  From our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee.”

I feel that longing acutely, the sting of the evil that exists is like a barb in my heart today. I can’t ignore it and it’s making it difficult to breathe.

We live in a sick and broken world, where there exist many places the love of Christ has not restored.

We get confused and wonder how horrors this unspeakable could have slipped through the cracks and when it comes to our children we reel, because it’s hit a sacred nerve in our hearts.

We know God didn’t cause this but we want to scream at him anyway.  Will our human hearts ever fully get over this need to know why?

But why isn’t the question, and God isn’t the one responsible.  Our world is broken and still lies in darkness, we have seen the light but it does not touch all corners of earth, there are minds and hearts still sick with darkness so black that it knocks us on our asses.

But God, he is close to the brokenhearted.
But God, he will wipe every tear from their eye.
But God sent his Son, and we are his messengers of that love meant for the darkest of days.
But God will restore it all
But God will set it all right
But God will carry those Mothers with a gentle graceful graylight that will sustain.
But God wins in the end, he loves all, heals all, redeems all.

Today we are at War, and today we can’t ignore that, but God is on the move, may we not forget that sustaining truth as we Advent harder than ever before.

  • Shannon


    • Annette Skarin (@carinskarin)

      You said it very well. The real war going on is unseen. Bless your heart for being on the right side of the unseen battle and for expressing the “what the hell” that we all feel.

      • leannepenny

        Oh Annette, thank you!

  • Judi Tieri

    Leanne, thanks; just thank you for sharing your gift of writing..for absolute truth about how you feel. I so connect with your words and anger and tears. Be well my friend.

    • leannepenny

      Thank you Judi, for your ever lovely comments. Be well too friend.

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