Monday, December 17, 2012

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

The past few days have been filled with sadness, tears and prayers for the community of Newtown, Connecticut. My dad called, while it was still unfolding. Aidan was home with the flu, so I didn’t dare to turn on the news. I was reminded of how my dad would call me while I was in college in Chicago whenever he heard of a crime in my neighborhood. He wanted to warn me, but he mostly wanted to hear my voice and know his children are okay. It was the same this week.

He went to bed for the rest of the day, he hold later. It was all too much. “We’re still struggling so much with losing your mom,” he said, “and yet we had a whole lifetime together, and time to say goodbye. How will these parents survive?” I don’t know, I said, but we have to surround them somehow---in our love and in light. How to do that, we’ve been asking ourselves. The best answer I’ve come across is this from Katrina Kenison:

Perhaps there is no good answer, other than to honor the sanctity of life by loving more and loving better, whatever that means for each of us. Compassion is the thread that binds us to one another…Compassion is what clears our vision, so we may begin to see, even in the midst of the darkest and most unspeakable horror, the light of something larger than our own understanding at work. Compassion is what allows us to seek redemption in the midst of tragedy — to reach out a hand and step toward rather than away from, to act rather than to wait for others to act in our stead.

Compassion is, perhaps, the point of the journey, both our purpose and our calling, the place where healing and hope for tomorrow resides. A reminder that in all its shadow and its light, this fragile, fleeting life is full of beauty and meaning nonetheless.

I’ve been grateful to Katrina for her wise words so many times as a mother, but never more so than this week.

Brene Brown also has a post full of light and pointing to strong links for those wondering how to talk to their older children about such random violence and loss.

My mother loved musicals, and “Meet Me in St. Louis” was a holiday favorite. I’ve always loved the melancholic yet hopeful mood of Judy Garland’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Christmas is a time of celebration, yes, but it is also a time of advent, preparation for the birth of light within us. May we all do what we can to cultivate compassion and a heart of light this season.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
Next year all our troubles will be out of sight
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the yuletide gay
Next year all our troubles will be miles away
Once again as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who were dear to us
Will be near to us once more
Someday soon we all will be together
If the fates allow
Until then, we'll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now

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