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Kathy Campshure

Editor’s note: To celebrate Christmas, the Times Herald invited several local authors to submit holiday-related articles for publication. Here are their submissions.

Now, in the depth of winter, we hang colored lights and festive ornaments to usher in the Christmas season. We buy gifts and wrap them in gaily colored paper, hoping to see the surprise on the face of loved ones when they open the cherished item.

We bake cookies, send cards and call people who are far away; we want them to know that they are not forgotten. We sing carols and smile and believe in the possibility of miracles … because, after all, it’s Christmas. In short, we do all of the things that we should be doing the entire year through.

I don’t mean to criticize the Christmas spirit. If it gives you joy and brings your family closer together, then it is everything it is meant to be. However, if—in fact—some people need an excuse to be compassionate and caring and generous beyond measure, then I guess Christmas is as good an excuse as any.

But in reality, it does not have to be Christmas for us to be kind; we should not need twinkling lights to illuminate the many things we should be doing on an ongoing basis. Does it take a holiday for us to be kind to a stranger, or tell someone that we care? Cannot that magic be there every day of every year?

We live in troubled times. There is controversy over displaying the Ten Commandments (and nativity scenes) in public places and over whether or not our children can pray in school.

The phrase “Merry Christmas” is offensive to some, and is being replaced with “Happy Holidays.” It would seem that the whole, original concept of Christmas disturbs some people. We can decorate this time of year and buy gifts and take a few days off from work—but don’t attribute it to celebrating the birth of Christ. That’s not politically correct. Too bad; isn’t that what this holiday is all about?

It’s ironic, isn’t it? Over 2,000 years ago a tiny baby was born in a stable, alone with his mother and father. Sheep and oxen and donkeys looked on from where they stood in the soft shadows, and the sweet smell of hay permeated his first breath. From that humble beginning came Black Friday shopping, inflatable yard ornaments, stress over credit card debt and ugly sweater contests. He WAS the gift—the whole reason for the season—but for some that concept is just too hard to understand.

I hope your Christmas (not “Happy Holiday”) is everything that you wish for. I hope you are surrounded by family and friends and that you are happy. But most importantly, I hope that the love and forgiveness that was his gift to us very many years ago still finds you. It’s still there for us; we need only believe.