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A Christmas wish for Newtown

If you ask me, the phrase "forgive and forget" is harder to utter these days. For many of us, it seems as though our world has taken a dark turn, and it's not easy to keep our chins up.

After the Dec. 14 shootings in Newtown, Conn., I admit that my initial reaction was one of anger and hatred toward the man responsible for taking so many innocent lives. Upon hearing of the tragedy, my feelings of disgust motivated me to inflict judgment before all things, even after the shooter had ended his own life, and placing blame ceased to matter.

Such is human nature. We're so quick to judge; to dish out payback; to avenge. But our loyalty should not lie with such reactions, especially during the Christmas season. Our energies, first and foremost, should be used to show care for those who lost loved ones in last week's massacre, which claimed the lives of 20 children and seven adults.

Of course, I have the luxury of knowing that none of the people I hold most dear were taken on that tragic day. If the shooter had killed someone I know, I imagine embracing rage would be my main objective.

In my fortunate state, I have the willingness to believe that our loved ones who pass on aren't gone for good, and I often admire those who choose to remember what made a person special. A gun can take a life, but happy memories and faith are indestructible.

But there is no escaping the sad reality that this tragedy occurred right before Christmas, a time that should be filled with joy and love. And it hits so close to home for many of us.

A notification regarding the shootings popped up on my iPhone last week, at the time everyone at the Pioneer Journal was handing out boxes for the Empty Stocking program. And after seeing the workings of Empty Stocking this year, I see it as an example of how good people can be.

Events like the Newtown shootings can cast such a large shadow over us, making it difficult to see the positive things in life. But let's not forget that there is plenty of good in this world.

This Christmas, my wish for those who have experienced so much pain in relation to the Newtown shootings and similar tragedies is to do the one thing that is most important when honoring lost loved ones: Remember and embrace the goodness they brought to the world.