In my family we celebrate Christmas. For me it is a time to celebrate not just the birth of Jesus and his bright light, but also the light in each heart and the returning of the physical light as well. There are many holidays this time of year and each seems to include a remembering of the light.
This year, Christmas may be less of a celebration in a small town in Connecticut. That thought has been weighing heavy on my heart. I want so much to be able to wrap my arms around the whole town and comfort them in their time of grief. I want so much, like so many others, to find a way to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again.
So I have been looking at the idea of Christmas and the people of Newtown and wondering what gift I could genuinely offer them. How could I find a way to really give them that hug that I so long to offer? How can I genuinely wrap them in the love that I feel?
I thought of two options. One is to learn to make origami hearts and to teach the children at our church and schools to make them. Together we can make many hearts and send them to Sandy Hook Elementary to make sure they know and feel the love that surrounds them, that is flowing to them from so many hearts that ache along with theirs. (If you want to make them too there are lots of instructions online. On this page is a list of different origami hearts – the easiest one is called Easy Heart, http://www.origami-instructions.com/origami-hearts.html)
The other thing I will do is hang an extra stocking. In the poem, T’was the Night Before Christmas, the phrase says, “The stockings were hung by the chimney with care.” I thought, what if it meant that the stockings were filled with caring? What if I can demonstrate my caring by filling the stocking with love, with all the things that will be needed for us to heal and create a society where this terrible moment won’t happen again, where we won’t have to have our hearts collectively break? In that Spirit, in the Spirit of light that is Christmas for me, I will hang an extra stocking with care this year. I will fill it with compassion, love, light, tolerance, understanding, goodwill and grace. I will add more things as I feel inspired. If I don’t have an object that represents these things I will simply write them on a piece of paper and add them to the stocking.
I will stuff that stocking with whatever is necessary for us to talk together in peace and light, for us to live together in grace, for us to love together in tolerance, for us to heal together in love, for us to honor those lights we have lost, in Newtown, in Aurora, in Wisconsin and around the world. A stocking filled with care in order to help create a world where each light is honored and revered. A world where those whose lights are dimmed by fear or anger or hatred or mental illness can again be surrounded by enough love and light to be able to find their way back to and be guided by love and to the help that they need.
So this year a stocking will indeed be hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that a world built on love soon would be there.