As I prepare my Sunday morning meditation for our third Sunday of Advent, the day we light the candle of joy upon our wreath, I cannot help but feel inauthentic.

Like you, I have been jolted from my Christmas preparations by the shocking news of the mass murder that took place in a Connecticut elementary school Friday morning.

How do we sing "Joy to the World," awaiting the birth of baby Jesus, the son of God, while listening to the news commentary that reports a rising death toll of innocent children of God?

Our hearts are broken.

There is so much darkness in our world.

It is in moments like these that we realize our own vulnerability, our powerlessness and our inability to keep our children safe. What parent did not run home to hold their child a little tighter than usual?

I imagine God doing the very same. Like a mother who cannot hide her tears, embracing her baby, cheek to cheek, her only desire to keep that baby safe and surround it in love.

Advent finds us in the midst of our hopelessness and our fears, meeting us right at the moment our heart breaks and our tears fall, and shines a glimmer of love.

Sometimes it feels like it just can't be enough. And sometimes it isn't. There are times such as these when no words can provide the comfort our souls need to feel.

That's when the embrace alone becomes enough.

God is with us. In the darkest of our nights, when it feels like joy will never come again, God holds us close. The candles shine their flickers of light. And we know that there will be dawn tomorrow. Christmas comes even to the heartbroken; especially to the heartbroken. Emmanuel, God with us now.

THE REV. DR. SARAH HALVERSON is the pastor of Fairview Community Church in Costa Mesa.