To the point week of 12-25-08

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I GUESS IT’S BECOME A CHRISTMAS tradition – at least for me, that this column on this week carries a piece of scripture concerning the birth of Jesus of Nazareth – the reason that we celebrate Christmas.

Being that today (Thursday) is Christmas Day, I will again carry on that tradition.

But that’s a little later.

Before I share those words with you, I think I also need to share some thoughts about what I see when I look at Christmas:

– I see the people of this community who come together and pull together and work together in order to help others have a little better holiday.

This hasn’t been a good year around Switzerland County, as we have helped people get through serious accidents and illness; lost loved ones to accident and to disease; and have battled through some difficult financial times.

But no matter what the “call to service” has been, I have seen the people of this county answer it.

We’ve organized fundraisers and we’ve donated money and we’ve carried in food and we’ve offered our help to a wide variety of neighbors and fellow residents this year; and as we have now come to Christmas, I have seen that spirit of giving come through even more.

It is better to give than to receive, and time after time each of us sees that in the faces of the people who share this community with us. The people of Switzerland County don’t have to be talked into giving – because it is a natural result of living among those who live here also.

Drive around this county over the past couple of weeks, and you’ll have seen people getting out of their cars, arms filled with packages and plates of goodies, and walking up to the front porch of a friend.

Those people don’t do those things so that someone will nominate them for an award or an honor; but rather they do it because they see a need and want to satisfy it.

And because there is an overwhelming sense that – if it were us in that situation – our friends and our family members would come to our need.

“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

Isn’t that the “Golden Rule” that we all grew up under? I remember as a child that was written on the 12-inch ruler that my school gave me to use in elementary school.

It’s also rooted not only Christianity, but in nearly every religion that is found in the world.

In the Old Testament, you can find it in Leviticus in chapter 19:18 and chapter 19:34.

In the New Testament, it’s in Matthew (7:120; and Luke twice (6:31 and 10:25-28).

You can also find it in sacred readings in Buddhism; Baha’i; Confucianism; Hinduism; Islam; Judaism; and Taoism – just to name a few.

It seems that no matter what religion is practiced, no matter what part of the planet that religion is practiced, and no matter who the people are who are practicing that religion – there is a common bond that we ought to try and treat others with the same caring and respect that we would like to see others show to us.

That’s a pretty simple thing, but wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if everyone – Everyone – just simply made it their resolution to simply treat other people better.

Children. Teens. Adults. Co-workers. Neighbors. Family members.

Perfect strangers.

I can’t think of a better Christmas present for each of us to give one another.

*

Well, actually there is something better:

With today being Christmas, I think that there are more important words to share with you in this space, words that I can’t possibly hope to write; but words that I believe and cleave to in my very soul.

The writer of these words was a man named Luke, a physician of culture who was divinely inspired to write this historical account:

“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

“Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while there were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.

“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, 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, goodwill toward men!'”

*

That is the reason that you will celebrate this season. No other, no matter what others may tell you.

So “Merry Christmas” to you and your family and loved ones; and may you all be filled with the spirit of this time.