Monday, December 17, 2012

Poignant letter to Santa

Over this long weekend, I have wondered how many elves in Newtown were left on the shelf. That little elf has wormed his way into our Christmas celebration big time and consumed much of my attention over the weekend. Jacob's traveling elf (he has two) came to my house and demonstrated he is magic by flying during the night from Jacob's bed to the Christmas rosemary tree on the coffee table. And he confirmed that magic by taking a picture of himself and putting it on my computer.
So tonight Jacob dictated a long letter to Santa. It was in truth a series of "I want, I want." He wants to see Rudolph, to keep Boogie (the traveling elf) after Christmas, to see Donner and Blitzen and Mrs. Claus again and Santa through the window on Christmas Eve. He says his main elf, Jack, isn't very funny and could Santa please make him funnier, and he says he has been a good boy this year.
It strikes me as the strangest of contradictions that this child, who sometimes knows his way around the computer better than I do and certainly understands the cell phone better, also believes so firmly in Santa and the magic of elves. It is a great gift--to him and to those of us who love him.
But writing the letter almost made me cry all over again, thinking of the children who won't write their letters this year and those who may write but their faith is shattered and their innocence gone. One more reminder that this tragedy, horrific at any season, is just a bit worse, if that's possible, at the time of year that is all about children in most faiths and, for Christians, about welcoming the Christ child.
Our former minister wrote in his blog today that if we have a candle of joy to light, we should light it today because life is fragile. I think spending my evening writing Jacob's letter instead of reading the galleys I should be proofing is my way of lighting that candle. But we will never forget the children of Sandy Hook, the letters they won't write, the elves who sit quietly on shelves no longer flying.

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