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OPINION | GREG HARTON: Just a few words about the significance of Christmas Day

by Greg Harton | December 25, 2022 at 1:00 a.m.

This being Christmas morning, the mission -- should any newspaper opinion writer choose to accept it -- is to put together a few hundred words that lend significance to the day.

It is, for sure, a day of gift giving and spending time with family. It's a time to celebrate one's blessings. It's a time to eat more than we should, for if we do not, all those gym membership commercials we'll see in January will be for naught.

For opinion writers, this is often a time of reflection on the events of the year gone by, a time to recall the many news developments local, national and international, foreign and domestic. A time to think about the political developments of 2022 and wonder how they'll influence the days we'll all share in 2023.

As much as anything, these reflections happen this time of year because news tends to slow down as people shift into year-end schedules and traditions. It's like climbing a mountain and reaching the next long haul toward the peak: We pause to gather ourselves before putting our best foot forward into the next segment of our journey. In this case, our next segment measures 365 days, a huge amount of time that can slip past at light speed.

Such pauses are healthy, especially when we fill the end of our year with what really matters in the long run: the people we love, concern for our fellow human beings and, for many, a realignment of thoughts and actions with the hope of doing better in the days ahead.

What does better mean? Figuring that out is an entirely individual exercise, but there's not a soul among us who can't find a path toward improvement. In the ways we treat each other. In the ways we treat ourselves. In the ways we listen. In the ways we consider how our own experiences aren't necessarily the ones shared by everyone. In the ways we respond to the things beyond our control.

On this Christmas morning, I'll pray to make constructive use of the time ahead, which could be 30 years or 30 days. I'll hope to have clarity about the things that matter most and the things that, in the long run, won't amount to a hill of beans. It's much too easy to let the many hills of beans distract us from what's meaningful and lasting.

But words that lend significance to this day? No, I don't accept that lofty mission, mainly because I don't believe there's anything I can say in this space to make this day any more significant than it already is.

[LINESPACE]

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

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 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 Saviour, 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."

-- Luke 2: 6-14

Print Headline: A few words on holiday’s significance

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