Editor has a wish for Christmas

December 23, 2011|Linda Duffield

Today, on another page of The Herald-Mail, is a story about people's memories of Christmas.

Some of those memories were rooted in childhood when parents made the holiday special; others were more recent.

In another story, area people talk about their Christmas wishes. Those sharing their thoughts included representatives of nonprofit agencies, pastors, members of the military and others.

Dignity for every person, hope for those in need and safe holidays for service personnel deployed far from home were among the wishes expressed.

I have no doubt that similar sentiments are offered around the Tri-State area — spoken from church pulpits, and by those who work with people in need, by those whose jobs involve saving lives, sometimes risking theirs in the process, by people in all walks of life.

The sentiments are manifested when you hold a door for a shopper whose arms are full of packages or smile at the person ringing up your purchases in the store.

Whatever you call this season — and the Christmas vs. holiday debate rages every year — this time, in the depths of December, seems to bring out the best in most of us.

Perhaps that's because of memories of happy childhoods, of traditions old and new, of time spent with those we love who are still with us, and those who are not.

The warm feelings could be rooted in religion or come from that place in the heart that takes joy in giving to someone else, whether it's an expensive gift or loose change dropped into a red kettle.

The reason for those feelings doesn't matter as much as the fact of it.

We find ourselves at a time in this country when Americans are polarized politically, when civility sometimes can be in scarce supply and when greed, nastiness and loud voices are all too common.

Perhaps, for a brief while, this season could let us put aside our differences and reach out to others in the spirit that is Christmas.

Perhaps "peace on earth" is impossible, but if we treat good will toward others as something real and not just some nice words for the greeting cards, at least we might make the world a little nicer for those around us.

It's not always easy to respond with a smile when someone is rude, or to see the other guy's point of view in politics, religious matter or any other contentious area.

But if we let the warmth of the season cling to us beyond today, beyond next week, maybe we could come to the realization that even those with whom we disagree have a right to their opinions.

Maybe we could see that people of good will can disagree without disliking each other.

We might even find that we are more alike than different and that it's possible to be polite, even to those with whom we do disagree.

Too much to ask? Perhaps.

But hey, it's not bad for a Christmas wish.

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