Pray for Christmas in Newtown

By   •   December 19, 2012

Christmas in Newtown, Conn., will forever be changed.

The mass shooting last week at Sandy Hook Elementary School — coming less than two weeks before Christmas — has not only made it impossible for some to celebrate this year, but for years to come.

Many have taken down Christmas decorations at their home. Some had wrapped presents for a lost loved one under their tree.  

“How is it even humanly possible for something like this to happen?” said Rapid Response Team Chaplain Coordinator Jack Dowling, one of 10 chaplains deployed by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association the day of the shooting. 

The timing, this close to Christmas, has undoubtedly added a layer of difficultly to Newtown, which still has some lights and trees around town.  Christmas will go on. But it will be unlike ever before. And some in the community have Christmas at the forefront of their mind, and want to dialogue about the deeper meaning.

“Jesus did come and Jesus was born and Jesus was a babe at this time of year,” chaplain Toni New replays some of the conversations she’s had. “And we know now this time of year, that your family can be at peace and at rest with the Lord. And you can be there with Him too someday if you have a relationship with Him.

“And that’s what we have to speak to them: hope, and knowing that they can rejoin their family member; that this is not the end.”

Much of the ministry has been to the First Responders and to the general community, but some of the crisis-trained chaplains have had encounters with family members at restaurants and the hotel. 

Rapid Response Team Director Jack Munday gave a training at a local church on Sunday evening on how to best deal with traumatic situations. A chaplain is being made available for each of the 20 funerals that have started this week, presenting the family with a Billy Graham Training Center Bible. 

“Almost without exception, across denominational backgrounds, they are appreciative of our presence,” Dowling said. “We’ll give a brief word of encouragement to the family and sometimes prayer.”

And there is much need for prayer as the community is still in shock. Here are a few ways you can remember Newtown in prayer over the Christmas season:

1. For the community of Newtown: As Christmas quickly approaches, there will be some families who have wrapped gifts under the tree for a loved one that was lost in the Sandy Hook shooting. Pray that this community is able to celebrate Christmas; that the peace of Christ would permeate through Newtown.

2. For the First Responders: For those who were among the first to respond to Sandy Hook Elementary School, haunting images are making it hard for some to even sleep, as they awaken with flashbacks. Please pray for emotional stability for these First Responders as well as others in the community who are dealing with survivor’s guilt and are taking down Christmas decorations.

3. For the Rapid Response Team chaplains and others ministering in Newtown: A deployment like this takes a toll on everyone and those ministering to the hurt and broken are no exception. Pray for the Billy Graham chaplains, including some who will help share the hope and love of Christ over Christmas, foregoing time with their own families to serve the Newtown community. 

Are you depressed this Christmas season? Find out how to fill that void.

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85 Comments

  1. Annie says:

    Holy Spirit, Come and burn every heart with Your Mighty Resurrection power,…..Lord Jesus, fill our hearts with Your LOVE,…..LOVE,…..LOVE,…..instead of hate, in Jesus name. My prayers are with you. AMEN!

  2. barb says:

    Please know that Our Heavenly Father has His loving arms wrapped around your beautiful babies. They no longer face evil in a sin-sick world. May His Light shine on you, may His Peace comfort you. Numbers 6:24-26

  3. Mary says:

    May the God of all comfort strengthen you all in these difficult. While is no logical explaination for some situations in life this been one such, may the God of all peace be yours now and always .As you approach the coming days my prayers are yours

  4. Robert says:

    Our hearts ache for the children, teachers and families of Sandy Hook Elemementary. I know our Lord 's comforting presence is with them. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed .” Psalm 34:14.

  5. Marilyn says:

    They're in heaven looking down on their families and friends. May this give comfort to those who knew them. God bless all in Newtown.

  6. Janet Moses says:

    Prayer is a powerful weapon. God be with the broken hearts.

  7. Gloria says:

    Newtown, please remember these words from Lamentations: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

  8. Terri says:

    I pray that Jesus, will hold all the parents close to his heart, give them strength to get through the day , and take one day at a time and God will carry you through each and everything. God Bless you all.

  9. Margarite says:

    Thank God for Him. I know that without God we are lost souls. May these families come to know the love of God who gave us His Son as a baby but, 33 years later He was crucified for us so we who believe in Him can spend eternity in His presence. Amen!

  10. Linda says:

    May the power of the Holy Spirit continue to fill the hearts and minds of all the families that have lost their loved ones. And may they turn their eyes upon you Jesus, the perfector of faith. , please carry these families in your loving embrace.