Spreading the Joy, Hope & Peace of Christmas
If you’re like me, life can get pretty busy with Christmas right around the corner: the errands to run, meals to cook, friends and family to visit, gifts to give – go down the list. It is easy to become distracted from what really matters at Christmastime.
I hope we can all make a special effort this year to demonstrate the true spirit of the season by spreading joy, hope, and peace in a sometimes troubled world. In particular, I hope you’ll join me spreading these blessings among those who will spend the holiday season in more difficult circumstances than most of us.
I am mindful of the brave men and women of our Armed Forces stationed overseas who won’t be able to experience the joy of spending Christmas at home with their families. Recently, I took part in the annual effort by the American Red Cross to write holiday greeting cards to our active duty military personnel stationed around to globe. For me, sitting down to pen individual messages of gratitude puts in very real, personal terms the scarifies made by our service men and women and their families, particularly during the holiday season. You and your family can take advantage of this opportunity to send joy to our heroes overseas as well by visiting www.RedCross.org/HolidayMail.
We must also make sure to remember the less fortunate among us and do our part to offer hope by way of a helping hand. For those who are having a hard time financially, are battling an illness, or have emotional struggles, the holiday season can be the loneliest time of all. There are many worthy organizations who help connect those in need to others with the means to help: charities, shelters, food banks and the like. Some local efforts might include teaming up with others to make sure families can simply enjoy a nice Christmas meal or have toys for their children. If you aren’t able to give monetarily, there are many ways to give of your time by volunteering. The Alabama Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives is a great resource to find ways you might be able to give back and offer hope to those who need it in your community. Visit them online at www.ServeAlabama.gov.
Too many in this world live in war-ravaged countries that do not know peace. Of course, familiar struggles continue in Afghanistan, Iraq and other hot spots. But, nowhere is the bloodshed more intense and heartbreaking right now than the Syrian city of Aleppo, ground zero in a brutal civil war where hundreds of thousands have died. There’s no question the United States and the world must do more to bring an end to this slaughter. As talks toward a cease-fire proceed, I hope you’ll join me in praying for peace. Pray that peace, comfort, and healing come quickly for the innocent people of Aleppo and other war-torn places on earth.
So, as the hustle and bustle of the holiday season rolls on, let us make a special effort to spread joy to our troops serving overseas, offer hope to those less fortunate by giving back in our community, and continuously pray for peace for those in places of conflict.
From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!