What to say today about Christmas? The most misunderstood and holiday in America.

Christmas celebrates the birth of the baby boy named Jesus, son of Joseph and Mary, who grows up to become The Christ and plant the faith we call Christianity

OK, simple enough, right? So the Holiday should be focused on love, grace and forgiveness, the tenets of our faith.

And there’s the disconnect. The beauty of the message has become just a side plot to the most mass-marketed sales season of the year.

It starts with Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) and doesn’t fade until January with post-Christmas sales grabbing the attention of all who received gift cards or returnable presents from aunts and uncles we barely know.

In addition, there are such grand developments as football bowls and playoffs, “ugly sweater” competitions (ah, those unreturnable presents) and the annual ritual of making your young child sit on Santa’s lap no matter how much he/she screams.

And so we become conflicted, and then accepting of our conflict. We proclaim to being followers of the Christian Christmas message, then we install blow-ups of Santa and Frosty in our yards. We buy into all the buying, even through many off us can’t afford all of what we purchase.

This season, I’d like to offer a few suggestions for what we can give in addition to our usual obligatory Christmas presents:

Kindness. It has been noted often, and it’s worth repeating, that we don’t know what is going on inside another human. We often find it easy to judge, but more difficult to understand someone’s plight. It’s called empathy. Look it up.

Charity. Think of those outside your small world. There are numerous agencies, churches, food kitchens, etc. that do excellent work assisting the poor, hungry or lonely. Find out who they are and donate or volunteer.

Forgiveness. One of the tenets of our faith is that Christ forgave our sins with his death on the cross, thus healing our guilt. Is there someone who has hurt you, who might for that reason be hurting? Would it make a difference in their life for you to say, “I forgive you” sometime today? And would it give your heart a boost if someone forgave you for something hurtful you did or said?

That’s it. That’s all I got for you. Keep it simple. Enjoy your week, eat too much and let the kids run wild. And don’t forget the afternoon nap.

Peace and grace to all of my Selma friends and readers.

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(Longtime Selma resident Ken Robison is a retired newspaper reporter, editor, columnist and photographer. Selma Stories runs most weeks in The Enterprise.)

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