Beginning Monday, the nation will begin burying the 20 children and seven adults in the elementary school massacre in Connecticut. The awareness of that has seems to have hit home hard in Studio City.
"We did consider canceling our children's Christmas pageant, we debated it a lot," says Rev. Robert Bock of the First Christian Church of North Hollywood in Studio City. "We decided to show that the light can overcome the darkness, and we hope to extend that light to the familes across the country to help them overcome their loss."
And it spread throughout the weekend in Studio City. Before the children's bowling league started during the weekend at there was a moment of silence for the victims of the shootings. Saturday, at the Chabad Jewish Center of Studio City they lit the eighth candle of Hannukah and prayed for the families. Sunday night they were caroling at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Studio City.
It hasn't gone unnoticed that three elementary schools in the Studio City area very similar in size and quaintness to the Sandy Hook elementary school, and the close-knit community within the larger city of Los Angeles grew a little tighter.
Resident Steve Valentine observes on a tweet:
Today as I walked around Studio City, I noticed everyone holding their children a little closer & all had red eyes & I was one of them.
As Rev. Block notes: "Teachers greive the most though, because they strive to prepare the children for living in the world, and teach them that in this world, there is a lot of violence."
But there are local teachers who expressed nervousness about coming back to school after the winter break, and there are shop owners more willing to hug their longterm customers, and cautious tension in the air.
"There are a lot of people in our congregation who write for TV and movies to make people laugh," Rev. Bock says (they are in Studio City after all.) And so, the children's Christmas pageant went on, with children dressed as lambs and cows and angels, and a humorous skit with a lot of laughs. And there were tears.
So, at Studio City Patch, we're going to celebrate the singing and the smiles of the local children. It's not an original idea. The opening of Saturday Night Live this past weekend opened with a children's choir rather than a raunchy skit.
Check out some of the video of singing from local churches and theater groups and schools. Some will make you laugh (some out loud for sure, like the Christmas Macarena). Some may make you tear up.
But these children in Studio City are singing just a little louder to fill the 20 voices lost across the country at Sandy Hook.
Please post photos of your own children smiling, or singing, or both and join the healing.
* Wendy Greuel: 'My Heart is Broken'
* Studio City Mom: To Love a Child
* Studio City Reacts to Shootings
* Gun Control Groups Say It's Enough
* It Can't Happen Here... But It Did [Video]
* Los Angeles Remembers the Victims of Sandy Hook Elementary
* L.A. Area School Districts React to Connecticut School Shooting
* Children’s Hospital Experts Urge Parents to Encourage Children to Express Feelings About School Shootings
* A Call for National Security by Recognition of the Sanctity of Living Life Peacefully
Studio City Patch Den Mom Irene DeBlasio said she found this poignant post on Facebook:
Irene Deblasio <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
‘Twas 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven's gate.
their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
they were filled with such joy, they didn't know what to say.
they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
"where are we?" asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
"this is heaven." declared a small boy. "we're spending Christmas at God's house."
when what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring
those children all flew into the arms of their King
and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus' face.
and as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, "I'll take care of mom and dad."
then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe
then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
"Let My power and presence re-enter this land!"
"may this country be delivered from the hands of fools"
"I'm taking back my nation. I'm taking back my schools!"
then He and the children stood up without a sound.
"come now my children, let me show you around."
excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
and i heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
"in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT."
Written by Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA