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Posted: December 18, 2011 12:00 a.m.

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Thoughts about Christmas

As you gather around friends and loved ones this Christmas, here are a few thoughts to inspire and encourage you. All of them remind us of the true meaning of Christmas and we need to remember Jesus is the reason for the season and we should keep that Christmas spirit alive every day, not just at Christmas.

Christmas can be a lonely and depressing time because we have commercialized Christmas and forgotten its real meaning. The great gifts of this season can't be put under the tree; you can't wear them or eat them or drive them or play with them. We spend so much time on the lesser gifts - toys, sweaters, jewelry, tools, modern technologies - and so little on the great gifts - understanding, grace, peace and forgiveness. It's no wonder that the holiday leaves us empty, because when it's over, the only reminders we have are the dirty dishes and the bills.

I have nothing against Santa and yes, I still believe! But let's take a moment to get back to the real meaning of Christmas. If you find yourself unable to provide Christmas for your children, I'd like to remind you that Christmas isn't about Santa Claus and gifts, though it can be hard to explain to young children. Children also understand a lot and are wise beyond their years so be honest with them and remind them that Christmas is about love. There are many things to do to make Christmas special and what may seem like the bleakest Christmas ever can be one of the most memorable, without fancy toys and gifts. This year our family is choosing to give "nothing new" for adult gifts. Some of us will scour resale shops and stores run by charitable organizations to find that something special for each person. Others may bake homemade cookies to give or make donations to charity, while some may look through old photos to find that special smile of a child, brother or sister and include it with a warm note telling of special memories.

Beth Rowe may be reached at 

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