On This Christmas Day by Margaret Hart

On this Christmas day, I am thankful for the chance to spend time with my family and friends. I am especially grateful because, like many in my state and around the country, I am still grieving for the lives lost of children and adults who were taken too soon in the recent school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

It has felt like September 11th all over again: everyone knows someone affected by this tragedy, and everyone is grieving.  Amidst the deep sorrow we all feel, there is also much reflection, and political debate. I have been crying with friends and teachers, and thinking more about how best to keep my child safe in the world we live in.  And I have been asking, “why?”   I don’t consider myself cynical, but when more information is revealed by the authorities as to motive, I don’t think I will be surprised. 

Its hard not to think about what could cause someone to commit such a horrific act of violence, especially against innocent children.  But I will not give this monster any more of my time. I choose to focus on holding my son close, giving him an extra hug and telling him I love him. I am trying to appreciate every moment we have together. I’d like to think that I am always a patient and engaged mom, but if I’m truthful, I know that I’m not. Life has too many distractions. 

So on this Christmas day, when my son calls for me, every ten seconds, to come and watch him play the new Wii game that Santa brought him, I am trying to have more patience and to sit down and watch and learn and share in his joy — cleaning up the kitchen can wait. Likewise, when my 77-year-old father gets repeatedly frustrated with the new iPod we gave him, I stop what I’m doing, and take time to sit with him and explain the world of new technology.  These moments are precious.

On this Christmas day, not far from my home, in Newtown, there are families with unopened presents under the tree, and empty seats at the dinner table. There are families who are not able to celebrate Christmas with all their children and loved ones this year. I am thinking of them, and trying to celebrate and honor their lives by cherishing the lives of my family.

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