It’s hard to feel joy after seeing the stories of the children who died in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday. With Christmas fast-approaching, the whole world should be celebrating peace, love, and good cheer. But with every news channel, every newspaper, and websites filled with information about the children and their families, one can’t help but feel their pain and their loss. It is a time to grieve. We lost precious souls in an unfathomable event that shook the world. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to grieve.
In my last post, I said that the media was draining. It was exhausting in a way that I can’t bear to think about the heartache those families must feel at this very sad time. One friend posted on Facebook, “It’s been four days and I still shed buckets of tears each time I see the images of the children who perished.” Words of comfort from his Facebook friends quickly filled comments to his post.
I had totally lost the spirit of Christmas, or so I thought. I was driving home from work today and getting ready to park by my house when the headlights of my car focused on a package outside my doorstep. It’s a huge box. I wondered if my neighbors sent me another package as they usually do during this time of year. I felt embarrassed. I had been ill for the past three weeks that I had barely had enough time to shop. All I got them was a Christmas card that I wrote while relaxing in bed while I was recuperating.
I walked past the package as I needed to let my dog out first. She was probably inside, with her legs crossed because she needed to go so badly. I took her outside and let her do her business while I brought the package inside. I had no idea who sent it (coming from an address in California) and all I saw outside the box were the words, “WINTERSTEEN FARMS – Handcrafted Wreaths”.
Once I let my dog inside, I started to become curious and gently opened the box. I can smell the sweet pine scent exuding from the box. To my surprise, it was a beautifully hand-crafted fresh wreath from very good friends of mine going way back. I had a real tree for Christmas before but I have never had a real wreath, let alone be delivered fresh right up to my doorstep.
I opened the box carefully. There was a card and a ribbon nicely packed inside.
I had to rush to Target to get myself a wreath hanger since I couldn’t find the one I had years earlier. I can’t leave this beautiful wreath in the box!
I rushed back home and used the ribbon for a bow (I can also use it to hang the wreath but it would be too low and would cover the peephole on my front door).
Then, as soon as I hung it up and looked at it, I realized – we are also allowed to feel joy in the midst of pain. I felt a joy inside me that I couldn’t explain. It may be a somber time for us right now but that is not an excuse for us to feel the joy that the Christmas season brings. It’s about friendship, family, love, and giving.
Even if I still have a heavy heart from the events last Friday, for one brief moment I felt the joy of Christmas once more. There is a reason for everything. Feeling this joy does not mean that I will forget. I will never forget the horrific moment when I saw the news flash alert on my iPhone. But I will not let it drown the joy inside me.
Thanks Mark and Jodie for a wonderful Christmas gift. You made me remember what this season is all about.
To all my friends out there: Experience the joy of the season amidst the sorrow we are feeling right now. Know that there is a time for everything. When you feel your heart jump for joy for any reason, let it be. It is a sign of hope. Hope that this event will not end in vain. Changes about gun control can’t come soon enough.
If you absolutely love the wreath, you may order it from Wintersteenfarms.com.
Visit their website at http://www.wintersteenfarms.com/#/HOME/