In a week of grief, what tidings can there be?

It has been a torrid week. As tragedy rolled in waves off our television screens, the numbing disbelief it brought melted quickly into heartbreak and tears.

They were just getting a coffee. Simply going to school. Only being at home.

The Sydney Siege. The Pakistan school massacre. The Cairns tragedy.

Hostages. Children. Victims.

We watched on and saw strangers like us engulfed in pain and grief. We grieved with them and for them and grapsed at what to say.

It is unutterably awful. Agonisingly wretched. So many words have been used but yet also not nearly enough, for words simply run out as we try to wrap our hearts and minds around man’s inhumanity to man. How do you articulate what is unspeakable?

Sadly though, this moment doesn’t stand alone in history. Pain like this has been felt before and we know, though we wish we didn’t, that pain like this will be felt again.

Where does a world weary with pain and grief go? How do we look forward with hope, rather than be swamped with loss?

In this season, we find clues in some of the songs we sing together. For next week is Christmas, and along with people around the world, I will celebrate the birth of Jesus – the one they call the Christ, the Prince of Peace, the Saviour.

He was born into a broken and pain-filled world, a seemingly helpless babe. With him, into the pain, into the oppression, and into the grief, came tidings of comfort and of peace and of joy.

Into our broken and pain filled hearts, His birth can bring these same tidings – slowly, quietly. surely.

God rest ye merry, gentlemen Let nothing you dismay Remember, Christ, our Savior Was born on Christmas Day To save us all from Satan’s power When we were gone astray O tidings of comfort and joy Comfort and joy O tidings of comfort and joy

Peace on earth. Good will to all men.

Floral tributes at Martin Place (c) ABC NEWS
Floral tributes at Martin Place
Picture: Toby Zerna