Give of yourself this Christmas

FI-EditorialNEWAt long last, it’s Christmastime.

Even if the weather does not quite match up with the calendar, it is indeed Christmas. It’s a time many of us are looking forward to. We delight in seeing family members we haven’t seen in months or years. We look forward to greeting friends as we are out and about braving the crowds to get gifts for loved ones. We remember past Christmases and all the excitement that accompanied them. We sing Christmas carols, sometimes in the streets for all of our neighbors to hear. A few of us may bemoan having heard too many holiday tunes in stores and coffee shops. And on Christmas morning, we smile as we watch some of the younger people we know open their gifts, waiting with bated breath to see their eyes light up when they peel back the wrapping paper to see the toy or doll or video game they’ve wanted all year finally in their hands, all theirs for enjoyment. And we may also watch some football or basketball on television before enjoying Christmas dinner.

Christmas is also a time for people to gather at church and count our blessings, to reflect on the message of the season and all the miracles, big and small, that come with it. We may laugh. We may cry. We may sing and thank the Heavens for all we have and all we’ve had or pray for a better tomorrow. For what is life without hope and dreams?

In the season of giving, we should strive to give more than just material things. Yes, toys, games, power tools, and shiny rings are great. But the world can be a better place by giving others a smile, a handshake, a hug, or even just a nod of the head. Such small gestures may brighten someone’s day more than you know. While Christmas is meant to be a time of joy and happiness, the Christmas blues are a real thing. Someone may be mourning the loss of a close family member who passed on weeks before the holiday. Someone may feel depressed about not being able to give gifts to the children because keeping the lights on is more vital than an action figure. Someone may feel down about being unable to make it home to be with family for any number of reasons.

So that smile, that hug, that mere acknowledgement of your fellow man — or woman — may do wonders. Even if people say they want to be alone, a kind gesture can mean the world to them.

So as you celebrate the holidays, show respect and offer warmth to your neighbors, your family, your friends, and even your mailman. A particular faith, wrapping paper and a big sale are not required.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, Stratford.

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