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Amid the darkness

The night can be so dark. Follow the star — what star?

Who can think of light, of good will, hope, faith — any of it — knowing the shelter and serenity of a suburban school day can be shattered as it was in nearby Newtown? People there, some of them, took down their lights, brought the Santas in from their yards. And who could blame them?

There is no explanation. Nothing that can be understood. How can the human heart cope?

It does, though. It will.

With that, too, no one knows how, or why. There is no other way. The sun will rise, the birds will gather at the feeders to chatter and sing. Children will stir and stretch, begin to fuss and bustle. And  — lit from within by that energy that is life, that irrepressible spirit — the kids will want to go outside and play. Eventually. We should let them play. Wouldn’t it feel good to give them some toys?

Let us gather to hug and hope, be close with friends and family, sing songs of faith and promise, share and put gifts beneath the star-topped tree.

It is not wrong that life goes on. It always has. It is life. It is not an insult that people share and relish what they can find that is good.

At every Christmas there are things incomprehensible, wrong, tragic somewhere in the world. We feel this as a body blow: It was so close, and the good people of Newtown so like us in their suburban lives, their dreams for their children — some now lost. We are human. And so we will ache and feel and cry for our devastated neighbors. We will seek to do what we can to help — though really there is sometimes nothing, nothing.

And despite what may seem mounting evidence to the contrary, we will have hope, and faith.

Goodness, like evil, is real.

We are human, and we must believe in good. The night after the morning’s horror, some of the people in Newtown — not knowing what else to do, perhaps — gathered and sang:

Silent night, holy night.

We can do the same.

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