Storm clouds gather upon storm clouds as I write this on Wednesday. There's the lingering gloom of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., where the loss of so many little ones causes parents everywhere to hold their children closer, as well as the predicted blizzard. The holiday cheer and bright emotions of the season are muted; the joy is replaced by caution.
Still, plans have been made, presents have been bought, the children anticipate the day, and we all will carry through with our familiar rituals, though perhaps not with the same abandon. There is life and the living to be attended to. In our planning we sought to give you a Madison Christmas tale. And so the cartoon duo Jon Lyons and Alan Talaga provide not only a graphic cover, but also a graphic Christmas story couched in the context of our community.
Christmas on a Tuesday presents some scheduling challenges for putting out the paper, but it will appear at the regular time next Thursday, the staff having prepared much in advance for an issue that will wrap up this year and look forward to the next. This week, as planned, is heavily about the seasonal fare: reviews of The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol, eating oysters and drinking wine for Christmas, Andy Moore rhapsodizing about bad Christmas singing. And there are a few good last-minute gift ideas strewn about the advertising columns. We hope we're not jumping the gun with our Nightlife feature previewing a host of options for your New Year's Eve celebration.
There is much in life that we cannot control, but this much we can: what is in our hearts. Despite the trials of tragedy and the battering of storms, we wish you a peaceful and loving holiday, and the prospect of better days ahead.