Every December I look forward to an early Saturday morning wake up call thanks to the Shop With a Cop program. This morning was that morning. At about 6:30 a.m. for the past seventeen years I have been awakened by the sound of continuous police sirens as local officers make their way from our town's K-Mart to our community's ever-growing Festival of Lights display. Beside them sit eager children who have been identified as being in need of local support, who without the community, would have no Christmas. The thought of a young child sitting in the seat next to a uniformed officer in a warm cruiser with reds and blues flashing and sirens blaring, puts that proverbial lump in my throat every year. I can't help but feel fortunate that our house sits right in the middle of their route. It is truly a magnificent sight (and sound) to behold.
The following day I like to read the accounts in the newspaper. How in the midst of their shopping experience, little Tyler turns and asks the officer if he can get something for his brother. How grown police officers have to fight back tears, experiencing every emotion as they make their way through the store. How for the day they are viewed as wish granters, hope providers, and in some cases, wound healers. How one by one they attempt to give even more to the community they already serve. I imagine the answer to Tyler's question is "Yes, I think your brother would like that," and as the child places the item in his cart, the police officer silently prays he never sees Tyler (or his brother) sitting within the confines of a police vehicle again.
Yes, hope is alive in Spanish Fork, Utah this morning as the glorious sounds of sirens signal peace on earth, goodwill toward men. And for one day--just this one day every December--the sounds which are usually associated with tragedy and despair, sing a song of love and hope in our community.
In contrast, I cannot help but think of Newtown, Connecticut this morning. May God bless the family and community members of those lost in the unthinkable tragedy yesterday. Unlike my neighbors and me, they awoke to a bitter, empty silence this morning--a silence that I hope will wake up a nation...