I want to know why a 20 year old would kill his own mother and then open fire on innocent children and the adults who were dedicated to them. I want to know why he had access to a stockpile of weapons that no civilian needs. I want to know why whatever happened in his mind happened.
But there are bigger “whys”. We want to know why a God who is always loving lets horrible things happen. It’s the classic question of theology. If God is all powerful, why doesn’t God stop tragedies? I’ve never believed that God wills or wants bad things to happen, and I come from the school of thought that believes that we humans make our own choices, and they are sometimes very bad ones, and in those moments no one hurts more than God. But on a morning after loss, that “why” sits with us, and no explanation seems anywhere near good enough.
And yet, here we are in Advent, preparing for the birth of the child who would someday be called the Prince of Peace. And this world needs peace more than anything. But how can we get ready for that when our hearts our so sad, and our heads are filled with questions of “why”? We might even feel a little angry at God today.
I think God can take it.
One of the last things Christ said before he died, in his hour of greatest suffering, was “My God, my God, why?” If Christ himself demanded to know why, what makes us think that we are any different?
It this Advent season it is possible to both prepare your hearts for God’s incarnate love and to ask “why”. In fact, maybe it’s even imperative. Advent is about building a relationship with God, and you can’t have a good and real relationship with anyone if it is not first an honest one. Our questions, our pain, our anger, all have a place in the life of faith. Belief does not preclude bewilderment.
As we wake up on this Advent morning with heavy hearts, those “why” questions matter. And as we ask them, whether we realize it or not, we are doing Advent preparation. Because with every question asked, we are opening our hearts up to God, and asking for a deeper relationship. We may not get the answers we need, but we may just find a love that we need even more.
Especially on the days when there are no answers.