The Reverend Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, director of networking for the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, wrote the message for the House of Deputies’ Christmas newsletter, drawing a “thread of hope” from the infant to world of today’s children – its fears and its possibilities – from her perspective as a mother:
Five years ago, Christmas day found me cradling a one-week old baby in my arms. A newborn, black baby boy holding all of the promise and hope of the future in his quivering, adorable, needy little body. At the time, I believed that to be the most vulnerable time of his life. But the epidemic of gun violence in our country has disavowed me of this notion.
City streets, classrooms, shopping centers, health facilities, movie theaters and churches are all likely venues for what society calls “random” gun violence. Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Laquan McDonald, and countless others helped me to understand that with each passing birthday, each passing Christmas holiday, my son’s life becomes that much more vulnerable. Watching and hearing the grieving parents of children killed at the hands of the state or by acts of homegrown terrorism, I can’t help but ponder the hopes and dreams they had for babies who grew up to die too soon. In the birth of Jesus, the Word made flesh, God knows this pain perhaps more intimately than most of us. It is a thread—sometimes thin—that gives me comfort and even hope amidst the tragedies of gun violence, the protest chants of #BlackLivesMatter, and the seeming intractability of racism.
Read her entire message here.