Christmas gives us hope

12:55 pm | December 26, 2012

Christmas is almost here. It’s Christmas Eve, in fact.
Christmas is joyful and splendid. We are caught up in its magic, entranced by its music, captivated over and over by its unmatched story. Each year, as the clock passes midnight and clicks into Dec. 26, there is a profound sadness, too. It’s all over for another year.
Earlier this week, the Elizabethton STAR had some special visitors — carolers from the Keenburg Headstart. It was such a treat for these boys and girls — Cayden, Nicholas, Colton, Summer, Elizabeth, Shayanna, Abby, Lilly and Yanin — to treat us to holiday songs, but it’s what happened after they stopped singing that really touched my heart.
When the children finished their last song, the employees gathered around to hear them sing cheered and clapped, and it was then that Nicholas, a little boy I had never met before, walked over to me and gave me a big hug.
His teachers hadn’t told him to. He just felt like giving someone a hug.
It’s that innocence of children that really makes the holidays shine. After the terrible days since the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., it was wonderful to be reminded of how children need nothing but our love. It’s that simple, really.
And, of course, we lose sight of too much during the holidays.
In the weeks leading up to the holiday, there’s always much to do. Many have parties to attend. There are church Christmas plays and cantatas.
There were lights to be strung, baubles to place gently on limbs and gifts to wrap, open and exchange. There are songs to sing, friends and family to embrace. Yet for all the anticipation, all the hours, days and weeks preparing for Christmas to arrive, there is that moment when it’s over – and so very far away once more – that we pause, finally, and reflect.
When the Christmas story began 2,000 years ago, it was the birth of hope. Now, two millennia later, as Christmas comes to a close each year, hope is reborn.
And, just as we know the Christmas story began with a babe in a manger, we can be reminded that life is made special just by a simple hug from a child.
As amazing as the anticipation of Christmas is each and every year, it doesn’t diminish our enthusiasm for its return. We can sing its songs again, right here, right now. We can tell the story we know by heart once more.
Peace and goodwill to one and all. This is my wish for you – for us all, for the children, for now, for tomorrow and these 365 days that stretch out in front of us.
Christmas may only be hours away, but isn’t it marvelous how time and space, no matter the hour or the day, doesn’t change the joy in that old song “Christmastime’s a Coming!”
Hope remains. Forever and ever! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
And, oh yes, bless the little children.

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