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In this season when Christians await the coming of the Prince of Peace, and in light of another tragic shooting rampage in our country, this time ripping the lives of innocent young children from their families in Newtown, Connecticut, I share this prayer poem that I wrote six years ago. As we offer our prayers for God’s comfort for the grieving, I hope that we also offer our determination to collectively work as communities and as a nation toward preventing this kind of senseless violence in the future.

The dove is a symbol of peace – a peace we so desperately need in our lives, our communities, and our world! The dove is also a symbol of God’s promise that we are not alone; nor are we lacking the spiritual resources necessary to seek change in our hearts or in our world.

The Song of the Dove

In this season of crisp air,
billowy clouds,
and heightened senses,
I go in search of the place
where eternity lies peacefully in a manger.

I go in search of the place
where the humblest of God’s children
come with little more than adoration
to worship a newborn baby
whose name means “God saves.”
They come bearing unadorned gifts
of simple lives and trusting hearts,
and I see what is expected of me.

In this troubled world, this vengeful time,
with its endless supply of weapons,
its young all too ready to use them,
I hold stubbornly to life
with every ounce of hope within me,
and the prayer that forever forms in my soul
is a prayer for peace.

Forgive us, gentle Savior.
We, of all the earth’s people,
need to hear the song of the dove.

Words (c) 2006, Mark Lloyd Richardson