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Missy Layfield - Editor

Merry Christmas!

Next Thursday, people the world over will celebrate Christmas. Those who subscribe to the Christian faith will celebrate, once again, the birth of the child, Jesus, who they recognize as the son of God. Those of other faiths or no faith at all may celebrate the Christmas of Santa Claus, silver bells and snowmen. Or they may not celebrate Christmas at all.

Many non-christians have jumped on the Christmas bandwagon, choosing to celebrate the mid-winter holiday without any of the religious trappings or traditions. The reaction to this non-religious Christmas in some quarters is horror. How can anyone celebrate Christmas without Christ? Such blasphemous behavior is an affront to all righteous Christians!

And right there is one of our problems - righteousness. Those that know exactly how the world should be run and how everyone should think, demanding that everyone believe as they do. Wouldnt our world be a better place if we were all a little less sure of our own rightness and a little more humble?

And what better time to make a move in that direction than Christmas? People become more kind to each other, more cognizant of the poor, the lonely, the needy and more apt to reach out to help them. Its as if in December, humanity remembers our commonality and forgets for a brief period, our differences. Theres a reason many charitable organizations focus their fundraising campaigns on the last quarter of the year and its not the tax benefits of giving. People are more generous around Christmas.

Children take the lead on Christmas. Whether its the rush to open gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, or the tender placing of the baby in the family Nativity scene - Christmas is all about kids. Just watch all the adults watching kids in the Santa line at the mall. Parents bend over backwards to support the Santa story. Midnight bicycle assembly anyone? What is your favorite Christmas memory? Good chance that its from the first dozen or so years of your life. Christmas is about kids.

And what do kids have that adults often lack?Hope. A simple word that can make or break each one of us.

 

Hope.

 

The ability to believe that tomorrow can be better than today. That somehow, some way conflict will end with peace. That opportunity will present itself. That well recognize it when it does and have the courage to grasp it. The belief that around the next corner is a happy life, a special someone, a cure for cancer, a job, whatever it is we each strive for...its out there somewhere.

Without hope, we face a daily slog through the minutiae of life, or as my brother-in-law likes to say, we become "beaten down by life.”

Christmas offers each of us a little slice of hope, a brief glimpse of what could be, how kind we could all be year-round.

And that is why I think most everyone loves Christmas. Yes, even those who proclaim to hate it, and you know who you are. We are all taken in by that sweet promise of hope.

Whether its the hope a vulnerable newborn baby in a manger stall instills or the hope of a child waiting for Santa or the hope of a lonely soul whos suddenly wished a Merry Christmas by ten strangers, hope is a priceless gift.

And one that the Sand Paper family wishes for all of our readers. May each one of us enjoy a hope-filled Christmas this year!

 

Missy Layfield

 

"It came with out ribbons! It came without tags!

"It came without packages, boxes or bags!

And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadnt before!

"Maybe Christmas, he thought, "doesnt come from a store.

"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!

And what happened then? Well...in Whoville they say,

That the Grinchs small heart Grew three sizes that day!

 

"HowThe Grinch Stole Chrismas”

Dr. Seuss

 

"Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Thats what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

 

Linus Van Pelt in "A Charlie Brown Christmas”

Charles Schulz