A child came into the world — and left the world too soon — to bring a message of peace. Of hope and compassion and light and love, love everlasting. And faith. A message of faith in humanity and in something much more, something beyond us and our understanding, but within us.
The Christmas message comes from a child for a reason. A child does not have an agenda beyond finding his way in the world, discovering who he is and what life is all about. In the questions and wonder of children, in their open hearts and their ability to accept instead of judge, the rest of us are shown the way. It is children who teach the rest of us what is important.
What is important is not what’s under the tree; it’s who gathers around that tree, whether they are there in the flesh or in spirit. Those who came before us and who will always live in our hearts and make us who we are — that is what is important. Those who share our joys and our indescribable sorrows and grief — that is what is important. Those who will follow us, who carry on in our absence and spread our deepest love and compassion and hope and faith that a better world is possible — that is what is important.
When a child leaves this world too soon, there are no words to describe the anguish. But if we can remember that children are light in every sense of the word — they are brightness and warmth and weightlessness — and if we can learn from them to have faith that light always — ALWAYS — conquers darkness, and if we can allow that light to shine, we will find comfort.
Across the country this past week, people’s instinct was to shine a light. Candlelight vigils brought people together. In times of sorrow, as well as in times of celebration, a small light draws us in and allows us to quiet outside distractions and to focus on a beacon of hope. In bringing our individual lights together, we become one greater good, able to cast out darkness.
The other instinct we share is to sing and to let music express the joy of love we have known and the heartache that intense love can sometimes bring. It is the voice we give to light. Silence, too, can be a kind of cosmic music. Music and silence, like light, draw us together, draw us in until our individual voices become one greater good, able to praise and mourn and heal; able to find peace.
That, too, is the Christmas message brought by a child who left this world too soon: We are one, and together we are strong and capable of extraordinary good. The light of the world is peace; we are the light; we can be the peace that fills the world.