Christmas

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Christmas is a time for hope. For hundreds of millions of Christians, it is a time of deep religious significance. For hundreds of millions of others who have been caught up in the spirit of the holiday, it is a symbol of the ability of all people to transcend the burdens and shackles of everyday life and believe in the inevitable triumph of all that is good and all that can be good. For people in many parts of the world it is just another day. Their beliefs, society or circumstances will cause December 25 to come and go just like any other day. For some, those days are filled with hunger, want or oppression. For each of these people, it is the duty of those of us who can celebrate Christmas to take a minute away from feasting to offer a thought or prayer of mercy and deliverance for them. In the midst of good fortune, it is well to remember that those with the most are no more exalted than those with the least; that any wealth extorted from another is tainted; that pride in material success is the bane of humility; and that only when we are humble and compassionate can we hope to find true happiness. It is not Christmas gifts that make Christmas. If a thing can be made, it can be broken.” If it can be bought, it can be stolen. Leave things behind and what is left is what counts. What counts is the joy we find inside ourselves and how we share that joy with those around us. So on Christmas, seize the day, revel in the joy, reach out to loved ones, reach out to strangers and embrace all that you have been given, knowing full well that life will go on as it did prior to Christmas. To take one day and find all that is good is not an escape; it is an affirmation of our unbroken, unceasing march toward better days for all. Next week, we will use this space to discuss the issues of the day. But not today. In this issue, this space is best used to consider matters of a different sort. So before any of us thinks about the disappointments, challenges or uncertainties in our everyday lives, we should think about what Winston Churchill said in 1941, in the darkest hours of World War II: “Let the children have their night of fun and laughter, let the gifts of Father Christmas delight their play. Let us grown-ups share to the full in their unstinted pleasures before we turn again to the stern task and the formidable years that lie before us, resolved that, by our sacrifice and daring, these same children shall not be robbed of their inheritance or denied their right to live in a free and decent world . . . and so, in God’s mercy, a happy Christmas to you all.” – The staff of The Observer wishes everyone a Merry Christmas.

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