The Real Meaning of Christmas: making sense of Sandy Hook

The Real Meaning of Christmas

I usually post about interior design but in light of yesterday’s tragedy just two towns over, I find my heart and mind with the families of Sandy Hook, CT. I just cannot find the right words to begin to express my grief. How do we begin to help those families heal?

As a parent, I am devastated. Where in the parenting handbook is the chapter on how to tell your child 20 kids your age were senselessly massacred yesterday? How do we begin to wrap our heads around this tragedy? How do we continue to live in a world that feels increasingly less safe with each event?

I started this year with the diagnosis of our daughter with Hemophilia C, then the murder of my best friend, got through an historic storm that devastated the lower level of our church, Trinity Episcopal in Southport, and now the most horrific thing that I could ever imagine has happened – innocent children have been shot, witnessed unspeakable acts, had their innocence ripped from them in the moments in which a terribly troubled young man went off the deep end.

And yet what I recognize as real life has swept through my back yard is there are places all across the world, where people suffer these sorts of horrors daily, whether war or famine, children are the innocent recipients of some dreadful messes.

So what is our response this Christmas? Do we just pull the covers up over our heads, bury our heads in the sand or crawl back under our rock?

Or do we work hand in hand with our friends and neighbors to begin to change the world one little corner at a time? You ask how? Where could we possibly start?

Start by looking inside. Do you judge your neighbor for his unkempt lawn? Maybe he has a cold or is taking care of a family member and can’t get to it right now. Are you unkind to the checkout gal who just might be having a bad day? Maybe she has to work a second job to pay the bills and really wants to be home with her kids. Do you walk by the homeless guy and wonder why he doesn’t just get a job? Maybe he was laid off and lost everything.

There are a thousand stories and we cannot begin to know which one any one person is living through right now.

This Christmas, smile a little more, bake your home bound neighbor cookies (that’s what our daughter chose to do), cut someone a little slack, let the harried mom go ahead of you in the checkout line, pick up the trash you see on the ground even if isn’t yours, put a coin in the Salvation Army kettle, feed someone at a shelter, listen really listen when your child tells you that long story again, call someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time, forgive…

Make one small change each day and one by one we can heal the world!

Wishing you peace, love and light,

15 Responses to “The Real Meaning of Christmas: making sense of Sandy Hook”

  1. julie clark Says:

    Hi Catherine, Thank-you! This is Exactly what I needed and is Excellent! Connecticut will be crying for a Long Time and taking the actions you recommend is a Perfect Solution! Enjoy your Holidays & Stay Well, Julie Providing Solutions to UpGrade & Improve the Quality of Life! 203-758-9858 Lower your Electric Bill ~ Compare & Save

  2. Jane Riedel Says:


    This makes me so proud of you! I agree with you 100%. We can’t solve all the problems, but we can do little something every day to make the world a little more whole. This was such a shattering tragedy. MAYBE< we could actually get rid of some of the guns~!!!

    Have a wonderful Christmas!

    Love, Jane Riedel

  3. saradachaudhuri Says:

    Thank you for sharing this Catherine – it really touched me, and has inspired me to keep making a small change each day…

  4. divalamode Says:

    Everything, everything is an invitation to Love. Even this tragedy. As you wrote, these kinds of horrific, senseless, mind-blowing events happen every day around the world. It’s only when they hit close to home that we remember that.

    What is there to do but decide to shine more light, more Love, in every way we can. Everything is a call to Love. Everything is an opportunity to allow more Love.

    • averydesigninteriors Says:

      Nancy, thank you so much for your beautiful words. Was it Marianne Williamson who said that there is only love and fear? At any rate, let’s choose love. So glad you are shining your light here and elsewhere. Warmest holiday wishes to you and yours!

  5. Laura Says:

    It’s interesting….I found myself doing just this as I was having lunch….what is the biggest challenge that person has today? …. what is that person going to celebrate?….How can I help that person over there? …. the event tragic beyond comprehension, the heartbreak palpable and the lessons enormous. The Dad, Robbie Parker, who lost the ultimate was able to express it best: ….let the event be “……something that inspires us to be better, to be more compassionate and more humble people. Let the sentiments of love and the compassion we feel for others stay with us at all times.”

  6. SandiGordonCoaching (@SandiGordon) Says:

    What a wonderful heartfelt post, Catherine. I pray that we all take your words to heart and be the change we want to see in the world.

  7. Pray for Newtown | stylesson Says:

    […] make a change and heal the world […]

  8. Sarah/ @sdevon Says:

    Beautiful Catherine and I agree with you wholeheartedly! I’m so very, very sorry about your best friend too; I had no idea you had suffered that personal loss.

    This has been a heavy, heavy year for so many and I think I collectively when I say we all are devastated that we allowed our society to get to such an out-of-control point that a massacre on pure innocence could take place. It is a horrible reality and one that we must move away from. We need to heal this nation and that will happen through cumulative efforts, such as you described, on so many levels by EVERYONE. As President Obama so eloquently stated, referring to the promise we must make to those whose lives were taken, “for those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on, and make our country worthy of their memory”

    Thank you, Catherine! Peace and blessings to your and your family this Christmas! ~ Sarah

  9. Lorraine Duncan Says:

    Sometimes the “How” is much more important than the “Why” for all these senseless acts in life. I find myself always saying how can I help the person down the street or my next door neighbor or even a family member. I’m focusing on the “How”. Thank you for this post Catherine, I am honored to be in your BNI group. Yesterday when we we were talking in the morning, I saw the real you tender and full of grace and empathy. YOU Rock!
    Blessings Lorraine

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