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NEWS-SENTINEL EDITORIAL: On Christmas, remember those who can’t celebrate

There is nothing quite like the magic of Christmas morning.

Today, many of us will be all too happy to be awakened all too early by excited children to begin a day of celebration marked by exchanging gifts and sharing food with friends and family. Many among us will celebrate by enjoying our new gifts, attending Christmas services, taking in a movie or engaging in any number of family holiday traditions. Few days of the year can compare.

For most, Christmas provides us the opportunity to celebrate our blessings – our family, our health and our prosperity.

Today Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, who spent His short time on Earth helping others, preaching forgiveness and encouraging faith. As author and theologian Frederick Buechner writes, no single event in world history quite compares.

“For millions of people who have lived since, the birth of Jesus made possible not just a new way of understanding life but a new way of living it,” Buechner said. “It is a truth that, for 20 centuries, there have been untold numbers of men and women who, in untold numbers of ways, have been so grasped by the child who was born, so caught up in the message he taught and the life he lived, that they have found themselves profoundly changed by their relationship with him.”

So, in celebrating His birth, we should do so in a manner that honors what He taught.

In the spirit of Christmas, take a moment amid your celebrations to think of those who for a variety of reasons won’t be able to celebrate in the same way. May they have our blessings, our prayers and in some cases, our thanks.

Take a moment to think of the young people whose circumstances require them, for perhaps the first time, to spend Christmas apart from their families. Nothing quite prepares you for that first Christmas away from home.

Take a moment to think of those whose jobs require that they work on Christmas Day – police, firefighters, nurses, newspaper reporters and editors and the store clerks who make it possible to get the AA batteries, food ingredient or other item we forgot but desperately need to make Christmas morning magic.

Take a moment to think about the members of the armed forces who are deployed around the world and will spend today not in celebration but in harm’s way in service to our country. They are true heroes who warrant our enduring gratitude.

Take a moment to think of those suffering from illnesses that require them to spend Christmas not at home with family but being cared for in a hospital.

And take a moment to think of those struggling with poverty and homelessness, for many of whom Christmas is another day spent in search of food and shelter. Their plight warrants our thoughts and prayers, our gifts and our actions.

On Christmas, let us take time to thank those who are giving their time today to make our lives safer, easier and fuller. Let us lift up in prayer those serving our country, battling illness, struggling with loss or other afflictions. Let us open our doors to those who have no place to celebrate today. And on this day of giving, let us find ways to give to those who most need our help.

Merry Christmas to all. May your day be blessed.

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