CHRISTMAS: A TIME TO GIVE – Guest Posted by JohnBhoy

There is never a better time to be a child than at Christmas. The cornucopia of festive pleasures: glistening snow on Santa’s rooftops; good-natured snowball fights; sparkling Christmas trees adorned with colourful baubles and silver bells under the glow of tiny twinkling Christmas lights, draped in shimmering tinsel; sentimental films and hidden tears; Christmas Carols full of merriment that lift the heart and heighten anticipation. And when Christmas morning finally comes, the shrieks of delight and scramble to open presents!!

 

Equally, there is never a better time to be a parent of young children than at Christmas. The childish fun in searching out the Christmas Tree and box of decorations. Teasing out the toys to be got from Santa. Imagining Christmas morning and the sheer happiness in your child’s eyes as every package is opened. The games, where Dad always cheats and gets caught out. The forgotten batteries! The half-eaten selection boxes. The self-satisfaction in giving your own child the Christmas that you had, or never had. The quiet, blissful peace at night, when the mince pies have been eaten and all the family is sitting in the warm afterglow, huddled together and content.

 

In Newtown, Connecticut, presents for 20 children and their four teachers and the school  psychologist will sit unopened. Those children will not be rushing downstairs, wide-eyed, into a wonderland brimming with holly, mistletoe and ivy, gleaming berries and a tree laden with presents from Santa. Those five adults will not be there to see their children’s joy, or to receive that special present from their loved one that tells them they are special, or to give a gift that says I Love You. There will be no Merry Christmas for these children; nor for the teachers and psychologist and their husbands and children; nor for their parents and brothers and sisters and friends. Halls and rooms that were bedecked in Christmas decoration with early promise of joyful and convivial to-ing and fro-ing, now lay heartbroken, filled with paralysing disbelief; and in every corner and mirror, grief-stricken tears look back.

 

Only days ago, those children and their staff were as near to their loved ones as these words are to you. There was no time for last cuddles and hugs, or to say goodbye. The wee cheery faces of the children – Emilie, Ana, Noah, Jesse, Avielle, Caroline, Catherine, Charlotte, Chase, Daniel, Dylan, Jessica, Josephine, James and Olivier – and the braw smiles of Victoria, Lauren, Dawn, Mary and Anne Marie, will brighten up no more school rooms. The children and their staff are gone and lives have been changed forever. For the children, future life-long friendships, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands and wives that would have been, will not now be – unknown to the children who would have been their future best pals and partners, as they sit looking up and listening to their parents mourn this tragedy, the course of their lives have altered too; for the staff, their relationships are no less shattered.

 

The loss to the families is inconsolably heart-wrenching and inconceivable. The shock when they first heard the news about a school massacre. The numbing realisation that it was their town, their school, their loved ones. The utter personal devastation when their worst nightmare was confirmed. The disbelief and collapse to the floor. No, no, no. The dreadful task of telling other family members. Each time a knife through the heart. The telephone calls and that awful plaintive human cry that only a parent can make. Then the quiet dignified forbearance.

 

Life’s vast journey of discovery that so many of us take for granted has been irrevocably altered for families in Newtown, Connecticut. There will no dresses of summer flowers or knees muddy from catching curve balls. The Angel in the Nativity play will not be theirs; or they will not be there to applaud. Parents will not hear the prize-winning poem “My Favourite Holiday”; or it will not be written. Future graduations, wedding ceremonies, and every Christmas will be a painful reminder of what was and what should have been.

 

As we sit this Christmas, misty-eyed, watching that wonderful final reel of It’s a Wonderful Life, where George Bailey runs through Bedford Falls shouting out “Merry Christmas!” to everyone and enters his house to be met by his loving family and devoted friends, give a thought to those in Newtown, Connecticut. In fact, spare a thought to all those who are suffering – the poor, the homeless, the sick – and promise to yourself that life is too short for you not to try and live the life that others now cannot. As a start, look at the photos of the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting and then follow George Bailey and give those closest to you a hug and tell them that you love them. You owe them, and the children and adults of the Sandy Hook school tragedy, that.

 

In memory of:

 

Emilie Parker, 6

Ana Marquez-Greene, 6

Noah Pozner, 6

Jesse Lewis, 6

Avielle Richman, 6

Caroline Previdi, 6

Catherine Hubbard, 6

Charlotte Bacon, 6

Chase Kowalski, 7

Daniel Barden, 7

Dylan Hockley, 7

Jessica Rekos, 6

Josephine Gay, 7

James Mattioli, 7

Olivier Engel, 6

Victoria Soto, teacher

Lauren Rousseau, teacher

Dawn Hochsprung, principal

Mary Sherlach, psychologist

Anne Marie Murphy, teacher

Nancy Lanza, mother of the gunman

 

Posted by JohnBhoy

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40 Comments

Filed under Current Affairs, Guest Posts

40 responses to “CHRISTMAS: A TIME TO GIVE – Guest Posted by JohnBhoy

  1. Night Terror

    Waiting for how that all ties back to The Rangers…

  2. 67Steph

    Puts all the other stuff into perspective. HH

  3. Carl31

    Excellent theme, great sentiment and very well written.

    Great Post JohnBhoy

  4. waterygrave21

    Amen.

    Thanks Johnbhoy

  5. Dublin Mick

    A very well written piece on a very sensitive topic. Let us all offer a prayer or two for the families and also that we don’t have any more incidents like this.

  6. Waiting for a post from Paul on the Hearts situation: A meaty matter concerning football and Scots law.

    McGlynn stated to the press that at his previous club, Raith, bonuses were only paid at the end of the season. There is no set date in the Hearts’ contracts for the payment of bonuses.

    Question is, does this make a difference if Hearts have previously been making the bonus payments on a regular basis? Did they establish a precedent by doing this?
    Is it reasonable to expect them to continue this practice throughout the season, particularly from the point of view of players?

    Merry Christmas all, God be with the little ones.

  7. Dirty water kills 5,000 children a day.

    Just saying like, were is the moral outrage for that…anyone ?

    • JohnBhoy

      And those are your words of condolence to the parents in Newtown as they bury their children? Rather than express sympathy you debase the moment by seeking discord.

  8. Joseph

    Thanks JB. The Rangers situation is NOT important in comparison to this tragedy in the States. In fact, in the big picture of things Rangers don’t even get a mention. Our prayers are with the families. All human life is precious
    and the wee ones will now be in Heaven.

    • “and the wee ones will now be in Heaven”

      How do you know this, I see the weans died before their time and they are away up to heaven so that’s ok then ? whose heaven what heaven ?

      • portpower

        I see toleration is`nt in your nature. Sad,sad person?

      • JohnBhoy

        This post was a simple act of remembrance and not intended as a forum for an academic debate on religion. The condolences from those of all religions and none should be respected, irrespective of one’s own beliefs. Your comment on Joseph’s humane expression of sympathy is inappropriate and disingenuous: he did not give any indication that the untimely and brutal deaths of the children was “ok” and to imply otherwise is disgraceful.

        Joseph’s sentiments mirror the heart-felt beliefs of many of the bereaved parents. Here is part of the moving eulogy given by Veronique Pozner at the funeral on Monday for her 6-year-old son, Noah:

        “Noah, you will not pass through this way again. I can only believe that you were planted on Earth to bloom in Heaven. Take flight, my boy. Soar. You now have the wings you always wanted. Go to that peaceful valley that we will all one day come to know. I will join you someday. Not today. I still have lots of mommy love to give to Danielle, Michael, Sophia and Arielle.”

        You ask whose heaven? Does it really matter.

      • Maggie

        @alex@ the kk
        WHAT is wrong with you?
        That is a serious question btw.
        You seem to be incredibly intellectually and emotionally
        challenged…… I realise your normal posts don’t stretch
        beyond your inane mantra of “the only show in town etc”
        that,and throwing insults at mick,but surely you do know that it’s Christmas and a second massacre of the innocents has taken
        place.
        Is it because it was John Bhoy who wrote such a wonderful piece expressing the feelings of all right thinking people that you feel
        you have to be SO offensive ?
        Why don’t you read it again and imagine it was written by Adam
        or one of your other fellow followers and see how your thoughts
        change,God I hope they DO change,because I fear for you if
        this is who you are.

        • If I ever need lessons in theology or any other mumbo jumbo I will be sure to call you first, unless of course you know for certain that it isn’t mumbo jumbo.

          Some of us have a deeper insight rather than relying on some unknown supernatural entity to supply answers, you probably are a member of the flat earth society.

          • JohnBhoy

            You are a disgrace. My post pointedly makes no allusion to religion or, for that matter, science yet you denigrate this collective act of condolence by insulting those who think differently from you, including parents of the victims.

            Religious division has no place on this blog. Why can’t you follow Maureen Anderson’s example? She was the sister-in-law of the only female victim of the second Ibrox disaster, Margaret Ferguson:

            “Every year when the festive season comes around, my mind harks back to the Ibrox Disaster, and the fact that my sister-in-law, Margaret Ferguson, earned the sort of fame which absolutely nobody looks for when she became the only female victim of the tragedy… she was the only member of our family who was really interested in football, and she was Rangers-daft. The week before Christmas in 1971, she had made a wee doll for Colin Stein, and the other lasses in the factory where she worked dared her to go to Ibrox and deliver it personally to him. So she did. That was just like Margaret. She was gallus, she was an extrovert, and…at 17, she should have had the rest of her life in front of her. Yet when the news filtered through from Ibrox on January 2, it was very, very difficult. Communities pulled together, religious divisions were cast aside, and our parish priest visited the house of my father, who was an Orangeman. Suddenly, these divisions didn’t seem relevant any more.”

  9. I have been and will be praying for the poor souls who were murdered and all their families and friends who were effected. The minute I heard what happened I was dragged straight back to our equally appalling tragedy at Dunblane. I cannot even attempt to imagine what was going on in the minds of all involved, including that of the murderer.
    Please don’t take this the wrong way, but let’s also have a think on the thousands of wee darlings that our society kills quite legally, before they can be named or we even know the colour of their eyes, just because they are a inconvenience, a mouth too many in a rich society. It was called abortion when I was young, a horrible word, but now called termination, a cold term, which, to me reeks of death camps. These poor wee souls are remembered, if at all, in the main only by the poor woman who feels it necessary to terminate. How many more do we allow to miss out on Christmas, birthdays or even a fecking chance to breath.
    To paraphrase Tiny Tim,’May God bless them all, every one,’ and forgive us our blindness, to what is going on under our noses.

  10. Spuds

    Respect Johnbhoy, nothing more needs to be added.

    YNWA

  11. Good Evening.

    Excellent post Johnboy– reminding a lot of us that we are very fortunate in life. Others, like those you have named, are not so fortunate. Their families will have a deep hole in their hearts this year and for many years to come.

    However, two things jump out at me as a response to your post.

    The first is that those of us who are fortunate– in health, in wealth (however you want to measure wealth), in outlook, in opportunity, in family and friends, and in just being comfortable in our own skins, with who we are and what we do etc— well we should just be grateful for all that and do what we can to help those who have a burden on their shoulder. Do someone a good turn– for no reason other than that you want to and some folk could do with someone doing them a good turn.

    I think there is great reward in that.

    The second thing is a sort of reward.

    Many will be aware of the name Vanessa Riddle– the wee girl from Troon who has Neuroblastoma– and who was of an age that the Doctors did not fancy her chances at all when the diseease returned in rampant style.

    Lots of people raised money to get Vanessa some treatment– a truly remarkable effort in terms of fund raising and raising the awareness of the disease as a whole.

    Anyway Vanessa has just sent a tweet saying he is off to a party with friends and that there is no need for her to go bck to hospital til January!!

    That is a very different message and state of affairs compared to 12 months ago, when all was doom, gloom and despair.

    Just goes to show you that if you put your shoulder to the wheel for someone else at times, there is a rich reward to sow.

    So– here is a wee reward for anyone who threw a few spare pounds to help a wee girl that you never knew– and didn’t have to!

    http://t.co/kLM9gGIy

    Thoughts and Prayers are with everyone in Newtown and the grief they share tonight— and with all who have some form of suffering to bear.

    However, Jackie Stewart once made a great comment after his son Paul managed to beat cancer.

    He said that he had in the past frequented the church to ask God for this or that, and in particular to help his son Paul. It didn’t matter what kind of church it was– Baptist, Catholic, Church of Scotand– whatever— he simply went in and prayed.

    However, nowadays, he still frequents the odd church– just gets the notion to go in somewhere when he is passing. These days though the purpose of the visit is not to ask God to help Paul, or Him– in fact the purpose of the visit is not to ask God for anything at all.

    Instead he now goes with the sole purpose of saying — simply– THANKS.

    So if you are up there, big man, and you are perhaps taking T break from working the miracles and have sat down to read this blog— then Thanks.

    Thanks fo the photo above, and for any help you gave wee Vanessa.

    Hopefully she will inspire us all ti help a few more folk out in times of need.

  12. COYBIG

    It puts everything else into perspective.

    My thoughts and prayers are with all of them and their families.

  13. Bill Fraser

    A beautiful piece of writing, JohnBhoy. The terrible nature of this tragedy is made even more poignant by the fact that this should have been a time of happiness for all those involved and seeing the ages of those young victims makes it all the more horrible.
    It’s a great shame that this article won’t be read by the gun-lobby morons who refuse to have their right to build up extensive arsenals of assault weapons taken away.
    Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to everyone though our thoughts will still be with the families of this nightmare.

  14. Well said JohnBhoy.

    The only thing to add (and this is not meant as a criticism in any way,) is that you’ve missed out the name of Rachel D’Avino, who had been working at the school for only a week.

  15. Den

    Excellent post JohnBhoy.

  16. Maggie

    @JohnBhoy
    Firstly,what a wonderful post from you JB,and a timely reminder
    that the issues normally discussed here are of absolutely no
    consequence whatsoever when looked at against the backdrop of
    such an unspeakable tragedy.
    I’ve been distraught all week and been in tears at every photo and
    news story,not only as a mother but as a teacher ( outing myself here )
    Although not your own children,you would gladly face up to a
    crazed lunatic to protect them.I’m sure those who died defending
    “their weans” didn’t give it a second thought.Such selfless courage
    is the polar opposite of the heinous act committed by the gunman.
    The only thing we can do is pray for all the bereaved and thank
    God with all our hearts that it wasn’t our own children or those
    in our care.God help them all.

  17. portpower

    Thankyou Johnbhoy. Peace be with you.

  18. Gortnamona

    U.N. chief: Hunger kills 17,000 kids daily

    November 17, 2009

    “Somewhere in the world, a child dies of hunger every five seconds — even though the planet has more than enough food for all.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon laid out this sobering statistic as he kicked off a three-day summit on world food security Monday in Rome.

    “Today, more than 1 billion people are hungry,” he told the assembled leaders. Six million children die of hunger every year — 17,000 every day, he said.”

  19. JohnBhoy,
    I was enjoying your description of Christmas and recognised so much of how I enjoyed it as a youngster, and then as a parent. It brought me a warm inward smile. Then I reached the the heartbreak and, with my usual sense of self preservation, went to leave your post; but, realising how cowardly that would be, I read on. It was indeed heartbreaking, but I’m glad I faced it.

    The only ‘belief’ I hold is that mankind is, in the main, good, and that good eventually triumphs over evil. Sadly these terrible events, that will no doubt be repeated before I leave this earth, show to me that, no matter how much good is done, every day, by people not even aware they are doing good, it only takes one man, or woman, to carry out some evil act that wipes the joy from the world, and makes us feel guilty for feeling joy while others can’t.

    It’s a Wonderfull Life has always been one of my favourite movies, showing how good people can make such a difference, while not even realising they do so. There will be 24 more bells ringing, that shouldn’t be, this Christmas, and 24 more angels receiving wings, they shouldn’t be there to receive, this Christmas, let’s hope there’s a George Bailey, somewhere in the world, to run down the street shouting ‘Merry Christmas’ because something good has happened to balance out the evil that befell the good people of Sandy Hook.

    Thank you for reminding us all of the people we should be thinking of, or saying prayers for, this Christmas.

  20. MMS

    A very poignant observation John bhoy; the loss of a child by any means is a tragedy, those amongst us who are parents will know the depth of love we have for our children, and how heart wrenching it would be to lose the most precious gift especially if in such circumstances as recently shown in the USA.
    It is hardly imaginable that when you drop off your child at school and in a moment of insanity at the hands of another, your child will never come home. To all of those left behind the parents, grandparents, family’s friends and survivors that one day will haunt them forever. So many will never be the same person again they may walk amongst us but their sadness and loss will always be within a place of emptiness that life can never fill. Too many children die for many reasons and each loss is in itself is painful but for a child to be murdered and face the terror they faced in the last moments of their lives is unspeakably distressing.
    I lived/worked in the USA for a number of years and it amazed me just how easy it was to buy a firearm almost as easy as ordering a Happy Meal at the drive through; maybe just maybe this tragedy will finally bring about the changes required to protect the children and everyone else who are sitting-targets.

  21. lordmac

    THE BDO on the 31 Oct 2012 had 45 days to get a creditors meeting that should been before the 16 December 2012 is there any word from this meeting posted anywhere on the web hope this is not going to be a hide and seek report or it nailed to a big tree.

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