My (Not so Grownup) Christmas List #3: Until Then We’ll Have to Muddle Through Somehow

I have a half-written post responding to a discussion I read about the flipped classroom, but somehow it doesn't seem right to talk about the flipped classroom today.

Nothing seems right today.

I am no poet or philosopher, or counselor, or theologian who can say words that will help anybody or help the conversation move further. Within the horrific events at Sandy Hook Elementary School we witnessed evil and innocence, terror and heroism, excruciating loss and consolation. For those of us who work daily in education, the murders hit even closer to home in the halls we walk and to the faces we see. The numbness and shock waiver between our recognition that this could have happened anywhere and our anguished remembering that it did happen there.

Yesterday was the third Sunday of Advent, a Sunday always called “Gaudete” or “rejoice” in which we recognize the joy of the Lord's coming.


Has there ever been a Christmas season more antithetical to joy? Can one have a “holly, jolly” Christmas after this modern slaughter of innocents? Do we “jingle all the way” in the face of devastated families? It seems the most callous of joviality to celebrate while others mourn. In addition how do we celebrate while our own hearts feel like breaking?

However,one finds wisdom in the most unexpected places. I was listening to Tracey Thorn's song “Joy” from her new Christmas Album Tinsel and Lights. Here is the video of the song:

Though not a traditionally sacred song, the lyrics framed this moment better than anything else. Joy in this song is not as much a reaction to a perfect world as it is positive defiance of the world we face daily:

So light the winter fire, and watch as the flames grow higher

We'll gather up our fears, and face down all the coming years

…all that they destroy

And in their face we'll throw out





I've been lucky in my life to have met several defiantly joyful people, people whose circumstances would seem to call for resentment or regret but who instead “throw out joy.” This is not a sappy Pollyanna approach to life but a boldly defiant spark in the darkness, a hopeful choice in full recognition of all the doubts and fears.

So my wish for all of us today as we mourn is that we might also embrace the defiant joy that sustains us through our pain and helps us to reach out to others in need.

As always, I welcome your comments.

Image: 'Licht / Light' Found on


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Date: Monday, 17. December 2012 17:32
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