Merry Christmas

Letter From New York

December 24, 2012

Or, as it seems to me…

It is Christmas Eve.  It is snowing in West Virginia, where I am, sitting in the kitchen of a house older than the country, a place where Thomas Jefferson is supposed to have slept.  It belongs to my friends Jim and Mary Clare Eros, whose younger sister, Sarah, is my oldest friend, known since before I remember knowing.  She and her husband Jim are making paella.  Their son Kevin and his cousin Joe are in the TV room watching a DVD.  Outside snow is falling.  We are all waiting for Michael, Jim and Mary Clare’s son, to arrive.  It is a perfect Christmas Eve. 

Back before they were married, Mary Clare and Sarah were McCormicks and they lived behind us when I was growing up and somehow they “adopted” me and here I am, all these years later, celebrating my fourth Christmas with them in a row, a small tradition I hope keeps going.

It is a restful moment in a time that has been hard on the national consciousness.  In Newtown, CT families are dealing with the unthinkable, a catastrophe of human making.  A seemingly tortured soul expressed his angst by slaughtering twenty children with automatic weapons, slaying six adults who worked in the school after murdering his mother and before killing himself.  After a series of mass murders, America stood up and took notice with this particular occurrence, probably because of the age of the victims.

The NRA suggested arming every school guard – or something like that.  What was it that someone said?  The only way to deal with bad guys with guns was good guys with guns?

A few days ago, four people were killed at a mall.  This morning two firefighters were killed as they responded to a burning house in upstate New York, in Webster.  The slaughter goes on, regardless of the Holidays.

Perhaps, at last, we will have enough of guns and killing and something constructive will be done about our national penchant for violence.  Perhaps this Christmas season will be the turning point.

In Washington, we seem to be careening toward the Fiscal Cliff.   The Republicans remain intransigent, stubbornly determined to have their way against the will of the many, continuing their demonstration of determination to ignore the good of the country.  I have lost all respect for the Republican Party.  All that is left is disgust.  They’re the Grinch determined to steal Christmas…

BUT, at this moment, I am in West Virginia.   Snow is falling.  There is a tower of presents in the library waiting to be opened and bottles of champagne to accompany the opening.  Not bad.  Around me is my family of choice while my family of origin calls and chats with me about their Christmas at home.  I am, in this moment, profoundly blessed and blessed enough to be cognizant of the fact.

The country continues to be challenged but perhaps because I am in the glow of the Holiday, I am hopeful.  Hopeful that we will learn from the tragedy at Newtown, hopeful that Republicans will wake from their stupidity and actually work on solving the issues in front of us, hopeful that peace will emerge from the chaos of Syria, hopeful that Israel and Palestine might find peace, hopeful about all things because this is a hopeful time of year.

AND it is December 24th and we have passed the date when supposedly the Mayan calendar predicted the end of the world.  I can breathe easier.   That one has been over my head my whole life.

So it Christmas Eve.  May all of you who read this, have the Happiest of Christmases, the Merriest of New Years and experience joy and warmth and love.

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