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Simon Winchester
September 30th, 2014

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Finding Comfort at Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone. But I think we all have to admit that it’s a little harder to feel an unalloyed sense of celebration in 2012 after what has transpired in Connecticut recently. Re-reading Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” has always been a welcome and much-anticipated holiday tradition for me, as has been a laughing perusal of the Christmas sections of that author’s wonderful “Pickwick Papers.”

This year, however, I didn’t get quite the same spirit-lifting feeling I can usually count on from them. Instead, what I really wanted to do was to hurry up and get to the kids and grandkids, to be with them and help them celebrate the season. They’re just like your kids and grandkids: wonderful, funny, loving, testing, totally amazing people. Just like those 20 little children slaughtered in Newtown. And wonderful, just like those incredible grown-ups who died in that massacre.

We’ll go ahead and celebrate, of course. We’ll open presents and laugh and be happy and caring with each other. But the adults know something will be absent; there will be a place where it hurts to think of what happened and of the unendurable pain and grief those parents and families who lost loved ones must somehow endure at this season. We will all give thanks that it wasn’t us; we will mourn for those it was. And we will all wonder why. Why?

Merry Christmas, everyone. May we all find comfort where we most need it.

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