The Gifts We Need
Traditionally the article I write for the Christmas issue of the Crescenta Valley Weekly focuses on the gift given to us through the birth of Jesus Christ. Regardless what you believe – whether he is the messiah, whether he was actually born sometime closer to April rather than in December or whether he even existed – it cannot be denied that the holiday season is based on the celebration of his birth.
I usually enjoy sharing my perspective, my faith, during the Christmas season but this year the message I would like to share is not at the ready.
Oh, I still believe, still have my faith but rather than celebrating the birth, I am seeking comfort. For me, the events of last Friday in Newtown, Conn. have overshadowed the wonder, the sense of anticipation I generally have at Christmas time.
And I am a coward.
I have avoided learning the graphic details of what occurred. I turn the channel on the TV when talk turns to “final moments” and “massive loss.” I am scared that I will become so mired in the sadness that I won’t be able to bear it, that the weight of the grief will crush me. So I turn away.
But perhaps this is the time that I need to turn to the one I believe is the messiah, the one whose birth is being celebrated. Hailed as the savior, Christ is also the great comforter.
I will give my Christmas gifts this year, but I will also gladly accept the one gift that has been offered to me and pray for the comfort that has been promised.
And I will pray – fervently – that those whose grief is seemingly unsurmountable, who are walking a path that I hope never to walk, will find the strength they need to get through this.
Crescenta Valley High School, in response to those wanting to help, compiled a list of outlets to show support. These include:
Sandy Hook School Support Fund. United Way, a global nonprofit that works to improve families and individual education, income stability and health, has set up the Sandy Hook School Support Fund through its Western Connecticut chapter. The fund will provide support services to the families that have been affected by the mass shooting. Donations can be mailed to: Sandy Hook School Support Fund c/o Newtown Savings Bank, 39 Main Street, Newtown CT 06470.
Danbury Hospital. Danbury hospital has partnered with other local counseling and mental health agencies within the community and is providing crisis intervention services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Sandy Hook Elementary School Victims Relief Fund. A former Sandy Hook student has set up the Sandy Hook Elementary School Victims Relief Fund in conjunction with Crowdrise to raise funds for the victims, families and others affected by the tragic shooting. Donations will be directed to the Sandy Hook PTSA, according to the fundraising site.
Newtown Memorial Fund. The Newtown Memorial Fund aims to help victims’ families pay for funeral costs, set up a community-wide memorial and a college scholarship fund for the students of the Newtown Public Schools.