CHRISTMAS is our annual celebration of light and life at the darkest time of year.
Yet as many social agencies can attest, there's often no shortage of sorrow in this supposedly happy time. Collectively, across North America, the season has been coloured this year by the grief of one Connecticut community, where terrible tragedy unfolded.
After the shooting, one news correspondent mulled the question, "What can I do?" Her response was to perform 26 acts of kindness - one in honour of each of those who died in the Newtown shooting - and invite others to join.
Within days, the idea went viral on social media, with strangers across the continent taking up the challenge to do good.
Some people bought children's books for their local transition house. Others donated school fees for kids in poor countries. One woman wrote a letter of thanks to her own kids' school principal.
Some paid for strangers' lunches. One man donated blood for the first time.
"26 acts" is an idea we can get behind.
Small acts of kindness won't erase the troubles of the world, but who knows where such a "rampage of kindness" could lead? At the very least, we can change our own worlds, and strengthen the communities around us.
So go ahead and write that thank-you letter, volunteer for a food bank or buy the coffee of the guy behind you in the line-up. It's a fitting way to push back against the darkness, to shine our own small light of comfort and joy.