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spirit of Christmasby Erin Weist

I have long loved the feeling of the spirit of Christmas.  There is something different, something magical, something special in the air.  Among Christian nations the month of December is a special one.  Christmas time is when we celebrate the birth of the Son of God onto the earth.  It is a time we better remember His life, His example, His sacrifices, and His death and miraculous resurrection.  For those not of the Christian faith but still in a Christian country it is a time for family, for thinking of giving presents to other people, for giving service to people in need, particularly the poor and downtrodden.  These, I believe, are the reasons for the magical feeling at this time of year.  People by the thousands, who are normally consumed with their own problems and their own lives, are focused on how they can help people less fortunate than themselves.  It is one of the definitions of a Christian nation: the concern for the well-being of our neighbors.

We all have people in our lives, those in our immediate circle as well as strangers, who we disagree with.  There are those who have offended us and vice versa.  There are those whose ideologies are in direct conflict with our lives.  Regardless, these are our neighbors.  Now is not the time for remembering differences but for uniting in commonalities.  We can forgive and be forgiven.  We can reach out in love & kindness to lift the burdens of others.  Now is the time for reaching out the hand of friendship, however tentative or guarded, and recognizing that our human natures make us all part of one human family.  

And as we move out of the Christmas season next week, unfortunately that magical feeling will fade.  No more Christmas music (some of it silly, some of it sacred) will grace the airwaves. We will concern ourselves with mostly our own lives.  We will become busy living again.  We will forget that those same neighbors we spent the last month thinking about still have urgent needs.  Let us keep that different, magical, special feeling just a little longer this year by remembering the needs of others.  Find a food pantry in your area that needs donations, spend time sorting clothes for a donation service, offer financial support for a worthy cause.  Whatever you do, don’t let the spirit of Christmas leave your heart.

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