“To the American People: Christmas is not a time or
a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will,
to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit
— Calvin Coolidge
Dec. 25, 1927
Traditionally, the days surrounding Christmas provide an opportunity to remove ourselves from the frequently overwhelming pace of our routine lives and to decompress a little by surrounding ourselves with family and friends who provide heartfelt reminders of those things that truly are important.
That sort of break seems especially important this year.
The past 12 months have been difficult for many, and around the corner looms a 2009 that offers the promise of difficult times ahead.
But this week, we can relax a little.
Our Christmas wish is that the next few days bring with them opportunities to remember and to forget.
As we enjoy the holiday season, we should remember that the quality of Christmas has never been judged by the number of presents under the tree, but rather by the love and generosity each represents.
We should remember that there are those with needs greater than our own, and the inherit pleasure that comes from helping them.
We should remember the awe and excitement of a child on Christmas morn, and refresh our spirits with similar enthusiasm.
We should remember the comfort that comes from wrapping ourselves in the social blanket of family and friends.
And, for at least a few days, we can try to forget what has seemed to be a bombardment of challenges for ourselves and our nation in recent months.
A staggering economic crisis, layoffs and unemployment, foreclosures, the crumbling of American business institutions, impossible government spending — all have contributed to the tensions and unease that permeated the American spirit over the past year.
Add to the economic woes a grueling election cycle, ongoing military conflicts that have kept American troops in harms way, the omnipresent threat of terrorism and global unrest and you have the basis for the general malaise that has affected the nation’s populace.
Those issues will all still be there for us to face as we march into 2009, but for the next few days we can let them simmer as we enjoy the sense of tranquility the holidays traditionally bring.
This is a week of celebration and rejoicing. It comes at an opportune time.
It is our hope for each of you that the days to come will bring with them opportunities to step back from the fray and enjoy those blessings life has given. Merry Christmas.