December is indeed the dark month. The sun recedes to the distant horizon, and we light candles in our windows. Sacred traditions mark this change, this craving for light amidst the darkness, warmth in the cold (well, balmy at least). And whether we tell the story through menora or manger or bonfire on the solstice, we acknowledge the darkness, the shadow, the bare tree limbs, the raucous vitality of summer now hushed and burrowed deep.
And yet the holidays are also the season of the child, which of course, makes Newtown all the more devastating, if that's even possible. It is the season of tinsel and sugar plums, of wishful lists and elves on shelves and miracles on Meeting Street. Not massacre. And yet it is here, blistering grief blatantly in our face, heavy in our hearts, drooping from our decked out tree—and we don't know what to do other than hug our kids, write our representatives, pray for peace and sanity and gun control and more sanity. And perhaps, simply watch this heartwarming clip. Celebrate smiles, celebrate wonder and silliness. Embrace the season of the child.
In between the tears that well up at intermittent moments—like when I hugged my daughter as she biked off to middle school this morning, or when I heard President Obama's aching voice on NPR this morning—in between the crevasses of outrage and sharp corners of bitter grief, I keep coming back to this: A story. A simple, ancient, basic story. Playful kids acting it out in shameless joy and silly innocence. A story that is all of our stories. The same basic story arch we played when we were kids: the journey story; playing house. A story of divine surprise, of struggle, of a wild and crazy glowstick party to which we are all invited.