I have written and deleted several accounts over the last few days. I have tried to give language to tragedy and honor what is beautiful and found language a limited tool.
It has been a month of thought and thought that resides in silence. But it is also coming up on Christmas. Life is busy and company is more than present. We have not had snow, not that I mind all that much, but a white Christmas is always nice. Word now is Thursday will, in all likelihood, make that a reality.
Of the beauty of the season, there has been more music than usual. Antiphons and hymns, fortunately, outnumbering the ad nausea of much of today’s holiday music, though the time is now here to enjoy the best of this as well. Interestingly there has been little in the way of Bach and this in a year when such a thing is demanded, for like grace, Bach is that which is beautiful, even when the world is ugly.
The world has been ugly. Our nation knows this. Much of what I’ve contemplated has been on the lives of the innocent and heroic who will not see Christmas this year. And my thoughts have been on mothers and fathers, who will forever have a pain that will not go away. Though this blog is far from public, it is not entirely private either, so I will be brief. Suffice it to say, I am heartsick as is the nation, but the tremendous grief that belongs to the people of Newtown is not my property or anyone else’s to pontificate on. Rather we should hold these families in our collective care and yet permit them their own sadness as they are held in the arms of those they love. Having said this, I will add the words ”be silent, but do not be silent when you walk away,” for Newtown and every ugly act of violence and that which denies life demands our voice.
Today is also the work holiday party, an experience never to be missed, though I suppose it does require a certain appreciation. I am sure that can be said of all work holiday parties, but it is especially the case where I find myself. After this there will be the bevy of deadlines and commitments and hopefully finally some reprieve. With that I can look forward to Christmas.
I do look forward to Christmas. I look forward to my service on that eve and I look forward to the gift of birth that would eventually culminate in sacrifice. In spite of all that is tragic, I have seen the giftedness of that day and I experience it and think on it now. I have seen residents I work with grow giddy, I have heard the antiphons and seen the lights on Clark street. I have thought of those Christmases past and my family and the cold walks to midnight services and the care I have given to others and the care I have received in return. Very soon, the joyous day.
But I also recall 1994 and I do think on 2012 and I know that the gift of Christmas belongs to those who choose life even if they are to see the close of life. This time of year, I am joyous and I am wracked.
Soon and very soon though the soft still of a holy night and the light which the darkness cannot overcome.