In joyless season, Newtown faces Christmas
NEWTOWN, Connecticut (AP) - Bells and lights and gifts: These have always shown us it's Christmastime. But this year, in this town, the bells toll in mourning. The brightest lights glare from TV satellite trucks. And gifts? Some around town suggest that presents and other rituals really ought to be put off in this joyless season.
Could anyone imagine celebrating Christmas under the pall that has spread here since the horror at Sandy Hook Elementary School? The answer, somehow, is yes. The spirit of Christmas has pushed through, even here, where people are seeing lights and hearing bells in ways they never had before, and reminding themselves which gifts are truly most precious.
The outpouring of caring that followed the tragedy has been an especially treasured gift. The weekly Newtown Bee's special edition on the shootings gave two full pages to sympathetic, prayerful notes from across the US, from Britain, South Africa and many other places, including Norway, which lost 77 innocents in a massacre last year.
From Alberta, Canada, truck driver David Lenzi wrote of pulling off the road, overcome, when he heard of the tragedy. He sent condolences to the town, and added: "I have heard media reports of people taking down Christmas decorations. I request that this stop happening." Instead, he suggested, let Christmas be a celebration of the lives lost and "a beginning of ... healing." Right after the shootings, many did choose to turn off lighting displays that had glowed with holiday joy in their yards since early December.