As children, we woke up Christmas morning, hurried to the living room where the Christmas tree would shine its brightest shine.
Around the tree were packages, neatly wrapped and stacked in a way that not one inch of floor could be seen from the presents. Had there been just one present or one hundred, they were a sight to be seen by an excited kid on Christmas morning.
Time went on and we became the parents of those children who rushed to the Christmas tree on that morning to see what great gifts Santa had left over night during his trip around the world.
Of course, as we became the parents of those youngsters we also became Santa's helpers. We helped stacking the gifts the moment those little ones were nestled in their beds, eyes closed and dreaming of what their eyes will see when they wake the next morning.
We "helped" Santa look for those gifts in the weeks leading up to Christmas morning. And despite the running from store to store, the thought of those credit card bills coming in the mailing not soon after the holiday, the hectic preparation of baking cookies, decorating and wrapping all of those gifts, our hearts were in every second of that job as Santa's helper.
The birth of God's son gave us a bright star the night of his birth so many years ago and with it came a day to celebrate that birth once a year all around the world.
We were also given the joy of the birth of our children. Sons and daughters that we can nurture and watch grow into the parents that we are to them today.
We watch them take their first step, speak their first word, blow out the candle on their first birthday cake and open their first Christmas present.
We shed a tear as they go off to their first day of school, shed another as they are handed their diploma, shed another as they stand at the altar and say "I do". And we shed yet another when they make us a grandparent with a child of their own.
In a perfect world, life gives us many Christmases. Life gives us presents and Christmas trees and wrapping paper and bright, shiny decorations to hang around our homes.
Today, our hearts are heavy because we do not live in a perfect world. Christmas has been taken away from 20 beautiful little children in a town in Connecticut. Christmas has been taken from six grownups that devoted the lives to educating those children. Christmas has been taken from the families of those victims and the community where they lived never to be returned as the Christmas it once was.
No words of solace, no tears of sorrow and no hugs to comfort will erase what happened in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday. We can only pray for those children, pray for those families and pray that nothing like this ever happens again. We've seen the worst that life can hand out and now it's time to say no more.