What brings us together as a community? Sharing the fun and festivities of the holidays? Sharing our love of children and family? Sharing our love of traditions? Sharing a reason to celebrate hope and joy with music?
All these things merged and created a beautiful sense of community in the first Suquamish Community Holiday Tree Lighting on December 7th at the House of Awakened Culture as over 400 community attendees celebrated the start of the Christmas season together. The Suquamish Foundation, the non-profit arm of the Suquamish Tribe, hosted the event as a way to thank the community for its generosity and build a new tradition we can share as a community. The beautifully decorated House had over 1,000 sparkling lights that joined with the clear winter night’s sky full of stars. Indoors, there was a hot coffee bar with cookies, candy canes and marshmallows for everyone. A Christmas concert was presented by the Kids in Concert, an organization that includes and trains children of all ages that want to learn to play an instrument in a performing orchestra. Outdoors, the brightly lit Argosy Cruise Christmas Ship kept a date to come close to the shore to serenade us with carols from the water. At the same time, Suquamish Tribal Chairman, Leonard Forsman, led the countdown to lighting up the tall cedar trees outside the House of Awakened Culture. A wonderful cheer rose up from the delighted crowd surrounding the luminous trees and viewing the waterfront reflections.
One of the community attendees made a most memorable remark. She said when the tree was lit and the cheer went up, she turned around and looked at the shining, laughing faces of all the children there with their families and she realized that this was the beginning of a new tradition that these children would remember all their lives and return to with their own children year after year.
In the faces of these children, we could see that they did believe, unwaveringly, in hope and joy. And beyond that, that they also believe in us, their families, their community, to continue to share our commitment to each other to help, protect and celebrate the health and vibrancy of this precious place we call home.