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Reflections on the true meaning of Christmas: Editor's Notebook

I could use this space to convey my dismay over our increasingly rampant materialistic approach to Christmas. I could offer that the real meaning of Christmas is a universal message that applies to Christians and non-Christians alike.

I could continue my sanctimonious sermon by reminding you that, no matter your status in life, your time on this earth is finite. And that Christmas is a reminder that there is a Higher Power that dwarfs any we may presume to have, and that we will get through this life happier and healthier if we treat others the way we want to be treated and reach out to help those less fortunate.

I could talk about Christmas like Thanksgiving being a time for humility, for thankfulness and for remembering to love. I could talk about keeping the Christmas spirit alive all 365 days of the year.

But I digress. Others far more qualified than I have shared more useful and profound reflections on this 25th day of December. Following are some examples.

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” – U.S. President Calvin Coolidge

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?” – Comedian Bob Hope

“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.” – Columnist Andy Rooney

“It’s true, Christmas can feel like a lot of work, particularly for mothers. But when you look back on all the Christmases in your life, you’ll find you’ve created family traditions and lasting memories. Those memories, good and bad, are really what help to keep a family together over the long haul.” – Author Caroline Kennedy

“There’s nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.” – Columnist Erma Bombeck

“We’re raising our girls to understand the real meaning of Christmas and to know that it’s most important to have Christmas in your heart. We go to our local mall and donate toys, and we say prayers for all the people in the world who might not be as lucky as we are.” – Singer Faith Hill

“On Christmas morning, before we could open our Christmas presents, we would go to this stranger’s home and bring them presents. I remember helping clean up the house and putting up a tree. My father believed that you have a responsibility to look after everyone else.” – Actor George Clooney

“It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you. … Yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at your brother and offer him your hand. – Mother Teresa

And here’s one from the all-time sage, Anonymous: “The Christmas spirit that goes out with the dried-up Christmas tree is just as worthless.”

Bruce Barton is editor-in-chief of the Town Crier.

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