Sandy Hook and Santa

Sandy Hook and Santa

The joy of a child.

Last Saturday, the day after the slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, I had the honor to represent Santa Claus at Patisserie 46. Because of Sandy Hook the day took on emotional significance.

Since Friday morning, I have been fixed on the tragic events and the response. The killing of those small children has touched me in a way that no other tragedy in the news has. Before December 14th I kept emotion at bay by intellectualizing what I saw and heard: even with 9/11. But Sandy Hook changed all that. My emotions were and remain, exposed, easily stirred.

Being Santa Claus Saturday afternoon at the patisserie pulled me from in front of the TV and the relentless flow of grief and required that I rejoin my living community.

Patisserie 46 was packed when I arrived in my Santa suit. Hamdog, a marvelous acoustical musical group that plays folk, bluegrass, and traditional music was already going full tilt. When I entered the patisserie I stepped from a cold, silent, blue-grey world of the street into a warm, golden refuge full of conversation and music.

I sat in one of the overstuffed chairs, close by the band. Supplied with the Twin Cities best hot chocolate and a mountain of chocolate chip cookies, the next three hours were wondrous.

Children and adults came up and greeted me. Small children would then dance in the open space in front of the band.

The children, music, and community of the patisserie washed away sadness that I had been feeling. I was enveloped in the Christmas Spirit: embracing the promise that children offer the world and sharing a common desire for peace.

Children’s eyes show us their promise. Those immense eyes looking out from a child’s face observe the world with the same intense focus as an adult. It is startling to realize that a person’s first adult features are their eyes and that I can glimpse that adult in the gaze of a six-year-old. That is why the pictures of murdered children are so powerful. I can see, through their eyes, the promise of the young adult that has been robbed from us.

The celebration at the patisserie wound down at 5:00 pm.

The life energy at the patisserie renewed my spirits. I walked home, a replenished old elf.

Happy Holidays to All
and May We All Work for Peace and Social Justice in the Coming Year


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