A couple of months ago, I posted a story about the deplorable behavior of some Clemson fans during a football game, a story of shame and disgrace. Today, I want to tell you another story, a story of hope and love.
A few days ago, Clemson University senior Alyssa Hess started a campaign to send Christmas cards to the children of Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. At first, it was a small campaign with less than 100 likes on the Facebook page called Tigers for Sandy Hook Elementary. That page has now reached more than 1,500 likes and made the local news.
The idea is simple: send as many Christmas cards as possible to children who need to feel the love and joy that the Christmas season brings at a time when they are feeling so much pain and sorrow.
This morning, 15 Christmas cards are making their way from Mumbai, India to Newtown, Connecticut. That is my entire stock of Christmas cards here in the apartment. The Christmas cards are actually very old and from a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York many years ago. They have beautiful illustrations from medieval Florentine psalters. I am not sure the children will appreciate those, but it is what I had. Maybe their parents will like them. I have never been much of a Christmas card person. In fact, this instance might mark the first time I have sent a bulk mailing of Christmas cards in my life. I did not send them to friends or family, but to children whom I will never meet.
One person on the Facebook page asked how to personalize the cards. What do you say to a child at Christmas who is suffering such a terrible loss?
“Merry Christmas! Sorry all your friends are dead. Have a great Christmas anyway.”
Well, obviously not. But, how do you express to a small child anything more complex than Merry Christmas? I wanted them to know they are loved; that they are special; that the whole world is praying for them. I wanted them to feel the excitement and wonder that Christmas can bring. How do you say all that so that a little boy or girl will understand?
I told them that the Christmas cards travelled thousands of miles to reach them. I told them that in India the tradition is to hang stars outside our doors. These stars are meant to remind us that Christ is the Light of the World. I told them that they have that light inside, and they should let that light shine through the darkness. I don’t know if the children will understand, but I am sure their parents will. Perhaps, reading the card can be a shared moment of joy for them as they mourn.
If you want to send Christmas cards, please like the Facebook page:
The page contains all the details, and they have a tracking survey so that they know how many cards are being sent.
If you don’t live in the US, please consider sending some cards via DHL. Christmas is less than a week away.
Oh, yeah, I almost forgot: