So this is Christmas

16 Dec

Sandy Hook Memorial middletowninsider dot com

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Do you know what I’ve discovered?  It is almost impossible to try and write something funny and Christmassy when the lives of so many innocents have been so cruelly and stupidly destroyed.   It is also impossible to type when tears of sorrow and compassion keep blurring my vision as I read the list of names and ages of the victims of the insanity that happened in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14th.  I tried, I mean I really tried hard to move on and be glib and funny about a Christmas story about a fat Santa Claus who goes on a diet, but the words in my mind got eclipsed by snippets of lyrics of a Christmas song being sung by Céline Dion on the Muzak loop playing in my home to foster the proverbial Christmas cheer.    I’ve heard this song a thousand times but only really listened to it a few minutes ago:

So this is Christmas

 And what have you done?

 Another year over

 And a new one just begun

A very merry Christmas

 And a happy New Year

 Let’s hope it’s a good one

 Without any fear

This painful anti-war song was written by John Lennon in 1971 and purposely released at Christmas time (now it has become an empty catalogue standard of “chirpy” Christmas songs devoid of meaning) as part of Lennon and Yoko Ono’s anti-war billboard campaign of 1969.

I was a sophomore in college when billboards by Lennon and Yoko proclaiming “War is Over If you Want It” were posted in various places.  I remember how much I hated the Viet Nam war because friends of mine were being killed and emotionally destroyed there, and I supported the Lennon/Yoko protest.   But life goes on, other wars came and went, and are still going on, but such is life, because I’m “dreaming of a white Christmas” like most Americans.   But today I read the words of a Newtown resident who wondered if the rest of America would go on with their lives while the people of Newtown stayed frozen in their grief, and I knew that for me not to take the proper time to grieve with the residents of Newtown would be inhumane and uncompassionate.

And so Newtown, Connecticut, I will not move on with life today as if “Jingle Bells” and “visions of sugar plums dancing in my head” were all that mattered in my life.  I will take the time to grieve with you and try to figure out what I can do as an individual to stop the madness happening in our country with our stubborn love affair with guns.  I will pray for you for the comfort that only God can give at these moments while I wrestle with my own understanding of why a loving God would allow such a heinous thing to happen to you and to the sixty-one other episodes of mass murder in our country since 1982—not to mention the thousands of lives that are cut short on any given day and on any given inner-city street in Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles and beyond by guns.

shattered onlyinbridgeport dot com


(Courtesy of Mother Jones Magazine via the Melissa Harris-Perry Show)

Feb. 22nd:  Atlanta, GA (Health Spa)—4 people killed, by semi-automatic handgun

April 2nd:  Oakland, CA (Oiko University)—7 people killed; 3 wounded by 45 caliber semi-automatic handgun

May 30th: Seattle, WA (Café)—5 people killed; 1 wounded by a 45 caliber semi-automatic handgun

July 20th: Aurora, CO (Movie theater)—12 people killed; 58 wounded by 12-gauge shotgun, AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle, and 40 caliber semi-automatic pistol

Aug. 5th:  Oak Creek, WI (Sheikh Temple)—6 killed;3 wounded by 9m semi-automatic handgun

Sept. 27th:  Minneapolis, MN (Factory)5 killed; 3 wounded by 9m semi-automatic handgun

Dec. 11th:  Portland, OR (Mall)2 killed; 1 wounded by AR 15 semi-automatic rifle

Dec. 14th:  Newtown, CT (Elementary School)—20 children (6 and 7 year olds) and 7 adults were killed by a Glock and Sig Sauer, and a Bushmaster rifle (normally used by paratroopers)

Lilly Condolence

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”Psalm 34:18

“Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.”Frederick Buechner

“I believe that man will not merely endure. He will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.”—William Faulkner

“These things will destroy the human race: politics without principle, progress without compassion, wealth without work, learning without silence, religion without fearlessness, and worship without awareness.”—Anthony de Mello

The gun slaughter of our children, family, friends, and neighbors can be over if we want it!”Eleanor Tomczyk


HOWTHEHELLDIDIENDUPHERE ANNOUNCEMENT:  I will be taking the next two weeks off and will return during the first week of January.  I wish you and yours a loving and grace-filled  Christmas holiday season.  I pray that the peace of Christ would permeate all our hearts.

   Hug your children—hold them close!

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Posted by on December 16, 2012 in Uncategorized


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10 responses to “So this is Christmas

  1. momshieb

    December 16, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Merry Christmas, Eleanor; may you and yours find the peace and hope that the season offers, in spite of the horror of Newtown.

  2. Sondra Smith

    December 16, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Thank you for writing this for the children. We have to find a way to stop this insanity, so this does not happen again. My heart if broken, tears won’t stop and the merriment of Christmas seems hollow. What I have to remember is that Jesus knows our pain and suffering. When one suffers we all suffer, we are all connected.

  3. imagesbytdashfield

    December 16, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Enjoy your time off my friend and a Merry Christmas from our house to yours.

  4. maryisidra

    December 16, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Thank You for not trying to be glib and funny. My mind and soul cannot go there right now. As you said it all feels hollow. Sad is not a big enough word for this. I had to go to a graduation of a good friend on Sat. That was hard because well you know. There was a moment of silence held for these lives for ever taken from us.I am sending a card to the school,While I know words cannot remove the pain for them, I want them to know they will not be forgotten. I will look forward to your return.Find some peace and enjoy the New year as best you can. (i just can’t say happy anything right now.) Hugs to you and yours. Your Alabama Fan.XO

  5. morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer

    December 16, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    What a beautiful post, Eleanor. It’s brave of you to even attempt to summarize the horror that we all dealt with this weekend.

    Have a peaceful vacation, and try to let beauty to enter your life again…

  6. Elyse

    December 16, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    We’ve talked about this tragedy, and the others, Eleanor. Your heart and my heart are heavy.

    But I’ll leave you for the year with a wish — may 2013 be a year of healing of health and of happiness for you, for me and for us all.

    Imagine. John Lennon would have liked that.

  7. notquiteold

    December 16, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    I’m here in Connecticut. We are stunned and heartbroken – like the rest of the country. I go on – I shop for Christmas, go to the gym, write my silly blog. but in the space of a few minutes I stop again, overwhelmed. I go on, but I wonder how in the world those families will go on.

  8. aFrankAngle

    December 17, 2012 at 8:16 am

    I’ll keep it simple – Thanks for your powerful words … and blessing to you for coming up with them.

  9. Valentine Logar

    December 17, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Thank you for this Eleanor, you have done what I could not do. You have shown compassion and love. I was only able to show my absolute rage, I hope I can do better with the next one.

    We all will go on, perhaps though we go on with some empathy, some compassion and a memory of the lives lost before fully blooming, the families with terrible empty seats where loved ones should be tomorrow. Perhaps we keep these memories and lift them up to whoever we lift our hearts to and remember them, send them strength.

    Peace, for the season to you and your family.

  10. Lindy Lee

    December 17, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Thank you ET & Happy Holidays to you & WW. You will be missed for the next two weeks…


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